Equipment bought for Hwange Colliery is guaranteed

Hwange Colliery

The faulty equipment that was supplied to Hwange Colliery by an Indian company is properly warranted and guaranteed and was bought through a tender system, Deputy Minister of Mines Fred Moyo, told the Senate this week.

Responding to a question from Senator Thokozile Mathuthu about the equipment bought for Hwange Colliery that was not functioning. Moyo confirmed that the equipment bought from India was giving problems.

He said the equipment for Hwange was bought from two countries, India and Belarus.

“It is the Ministry’s understanding that up to five or six of loading equipment called front-end loaders are the ones that are under commissioning and they have given problems. The problems experienced are that they are mixing hydraulic oil with water,” Moyo told the Senate.

“I did speak to the Managing Director of the company yesterday and the indication I got was that they believe that the problem may well be hydraulic pumps, which is the engine of these kinds of machines that we are talking about. He advised me that replacement components have just been air lifted from India, coming to the mine. The effort being to avoid trying to repair the new pumps but instead replace them with new ones and consider these ones failed components.

“It is our hope that the new units will be delivered in the shortest time possible since they were air flown and they will be fitted on the machines. Again it is the Ministry’s hope that by replacing the pumps, the machines will be able to function as they should as new pieces of equipment.

“We have confirmed that the equipment is properly warranted and guaranteed. Management believes that the problems that they are experiencing are technical problems that can be resolved. As Ministry, we have asked for a report and I think it is only fair that we allow the technical report to be presented so that we have a better understanding of what is going on.”

Q A:

+SENATOR MATHUTHU: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development. Minister, we have heard that the machinery at Hwange Colliery Mine is not functioning. I would like him to advise us if that is true? I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (MR. MOYO): Thank you Madam President. With your indulgence, can I respond in English in order for me to explain myself better because it is a technical issue?

MADAM PRESIDENT: As long as you have understood the question.

MR. MOYO: Yes, I did. I would like to thank Senator Mathuthu for asking that question. The issue she raised has become very topical in our country through the national press. Hwange Colliery Company has been making efforts to capitalise itself. An amount of just over US$30 million was raised to buy equipment from both India as well as Belarus. The loan was given by international banks and it was guaranteed by Government. So, it is an important transaction because it affects Government.

A total of 28 pieces of equipment have been delivered. These are pieces of equipment that were commissioned by Vice President Mphoko. Half fourteen of the pieces of equipment came from India, the other fourteen from Belarus. The equipment from Belarus has not been commissioned yet, while efforts at the moment are focused on commissioning the other pieces that came from India. The supplying company from India is a national Indian company which supplied the equipment to Hwange Colliery.

It is the Ministry’s understanding that up to five or six of loading equipment called front-end loaders are the ones that are under commissioning and they have given problems. The problems experienced are that they are mixing hydraulic oil with water. I did speak to the Managing Director of the company yesterday and the indication I got was that they believe that the problem may well be hydraulic pumps, which is the engine of these kinds of machines that we are talking about. He advised me that replacement components have just been air lifted from India, coming to the mine. The effort being to avoid trying to repair the new pumps but instead replace them with new ones and consider these ones failed components. It is our hope that the new units will be delivered in the shortest time possible since they were air flown and they will be fitted on the machines. Again it is the Ministry’s hope that by replacing the pumps, the machines will be able to function as they should as new pieces of equipment.

We have confirmed that the equipment is properly warranted and guaranteed. Management believes that the problems that they are experiencing are technical problems that can be resolved. As Ministry, we have asked for a report and I think it is only fair that we allow the technical report to be presented so that we have a better understanding of what is going on. I think the hon. senators would have seen a statement in the paper by the supplier company confirming that they did supply equipment that was properly designed, manufactured and put together. That is their standard product and they made this statement public. We hope and believe that this is the case. As I said, we perhaps best allow management and the board to try and rectify the problems. We will get feedback at the opportune time or with your concurrence Madam President, we can then present a written report so that the whole issue is correctly officialised. Thank you very much.

+SENATOR MATHUTHU: Thank you Madam President. In the buying of this heavy equipment, did the Hwange Company take this to tender or they just shopped for these machines on the internet? I thank you.

MR. F. MOYO: Madam President, I can confirm that the equipment was bought through a tender system that the Ministry was aware of. As you can imagine, the Ministry will not be involved in the day to day activities of the company. So, what we know is that the tender system was used but as to the processes that followed the tendering up to the awarding of the contract, the company will have to make comments to that effect because these are some of the things that they have to report on in the report that I said they should present. Thank you.

MADAM PRESIDENT: So, you are advised to put it in writing.

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