Daniel Nemukuyu, Department of Harare
A South African mining company, the Tumagole Consortium, says it is committed to investing $ 55 billion in the coal bed methane mining project in Lupane.
Tumagole Consortium officials, led by Zimbabwe's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mphakama Mbete, paid a courtesy visit to Vice President Constantine Chiwenga yesterday.
The company, which started work on the gas project under a non-binding contract, said that if it got a binding contract, it would invest more in Zimbabwe.
Ambassador Mbete told reporters after the meeting that his country was interested in signing mining deals with Zimbabwe.
"The purpose of the meeting was to discuss with Vice President Chiwenga possible new investments with Zimbabwe in the mining area.
"Today, we brought a company called the Tumagole Consortium to meet the vice president. They are in mining, "he said.
Natural gas reserves were discovered in the Lupane-Lubimbi region, north of Matabeleland a few decades ago, but commercial exploitation did not take off.
Exploration and pilot production work has already been carried out and has proven that the resource can be commercially exploited for domestic and industrial use.
Thapelo Tshephe, a representative of the Tumagole Consortium, said his company is poised to inject up to R $ 55 billion into the Lupane gas project.
He said the company plans to invest R 100 million in the first two years.
"It's a very good project if we can get the binding contract. We will be able to launch at least R100 million in the next two years, although the total investment is approximately R $ 55 billion.
"We already have commitments from South African banks. We will also receive technical support from large companies such as Sassol, "he said.
Tshephe said Tumagole has already started working on the project before getting a binding contract.
"The meeting with Vice President Chiwenga was aligned with the CBM project in the Lupane area. We already did some work there, but now we need a binding contract, "Tshephe said.
"We can supply gas to nine neighboring countries. This will help Zimbabwe become independent in terms of electricity and gas supplies. "
Ambassador Mbete said Zimbabwe and South Africa are in talks on how to strengthen cooperation in all areas of development.
"The negotiations began in December last year on Boxing Day between the two countries' finance ministers and the governors of the two reserve banks.
"The talks were about possible cooperation between the two countries and it is important to note that the ministers and the governors met with the instructions of the two presidents.
"The conversations are delicate and very strategic. So let's inform the world and the media as progress comes. They are so sensitive that at this time, they are only being treated at the ministerial level, "he said.