Chilota Colliery Company (Pvt) Limited
Chilota Colliery Company (Pvt) Limited was given a Special Grant (SG) 4947 and is engaged in coal mining. The mining method is opencast since the coal seam is shallow. The SG is situated in Hwange District of Matabeleland North Province about 9 km away from Hwange town along the Deka road. It is approximately 2 323 hectares in area.
Chilota Colliery Company engaged Environmental Guardians Services to conduct an ESIA. The ESIA was conducted and an ESIA certificate was issued by the Environmental Management Agency in Zimbabwe.
The Mining Environment
The Soil types within the SG
The SG is mainly dominated by Kalahari sands. The sand is fine to medium grained. Thickness varies from area to area but can be as much as 75metres in places. These soils vary in colour from pale yellowish colour to reddish brown.
Sandstones soils are also common in the southern part of the SG and the most dominant. These soils do not have time to develop beyond their present depth either because of climatic conditions or the environmental factors. These soils are susceptible to erosion. The shallowness of these soils does not preclude horizon development. Siltstones and mudstones within the SG have considerable reserves of feldspar and other weatherable minerals. Clay content is moderate high. Profiles are mostly shallow to moderately shallow.
The vegetation map below, clearly shows that Miombo Woodland is the largest and in many ways the dominant vegetation type within the SG. It is found on the deep kalahari sand plateau and is characterised by the presence of Zambezi teak which occurs in association with other important hardwoods like mukwa, false mopane and pod mahogany. The upper storey associates of the Zambezi teak woodland
The mine footprint covers approximately 2 323 hectares (ha). The coal mine is developed as an open-cast mine and at any one stage the open pit will cover an area of about 85 ha. Opencast or open cut mining is only economic when the coal seam is near the surface. This method recovers a higher proportion of the coal deposit than underground mining as all coal seams are exploited, 90% or more of the coal can be recovered. Large mining machinery is used to exploit the coal and these include the following:
- Power shovels (which remove the overburden)
- Large trucks, which transport overburden and coal
- Bucket wheel excavators
- Coal Preparation Plant (CPP)
The overburden of soil and rock is first broken up by explosives; it is then removed by shovels and trucks. Once the coal seam is exposed, it is drilled, fractured and systematically mined in strips. The coal is then loaded on to large trucks and transported to the run off mine (ROM) or conveyors for transportation to either the CPP or directly to where it will be used.
As the mine advances, the excavated area are progressively backfilled and the land restored to its natural state. Diamond core drilling is conducted simultaneous with other mining activities. Diamond core drilling method is used to get coal samples that can be used in the calculation of the quality and quantity of the coal reserve within