Coal has been the dominant energy mineral for Zimbabwe. The country boasts of vast reserves of coal particularly in the north-west and southern parts of the country. Wankie Colliery Company, the only coal producing mine at present, has adequate capacity to meet the country’s needs in terms of energy requirements for domestic heating, agricultural heating, industrial energy as well as power stations. However, the quality of Wankie coal in terms of sulphur and phosphorous content is not suitable for metallurgical purposes and therefore such coal is imported mainly from South Africa. Other resources are being evaluated to determine viability of establishing a new power station to meet the country’s growing requirements.
Coal-bed Methane: CBM recently discovered in the north-west of the country provides an alternative energy source to coal. The discoveries are considered to be comparable to those in the USA (according to Paul Tromp, an American who was involved in early exploration for CBM in Zimbabwe). Several exploration companies have reported viable resources awaiting further development and investment. This resource could be used for power generation, production of pharmaceuticals, ammonia-based fertilisers and other chemicals. Many downstream industries could be developed resulting in greater employment levels and a variety of new products.