BULAWAYO, April 7 (The Source) – Government has discovered gas reserves in the Lupane-Lubimbi basin estimated at over 23 billion cubic feet and would start exploitation this year, Mines and Mining Development minister, Walter Chidhakwa has said.
In an interview with The Source at the weekend, Chidhakwa said the exploration process has been completed and exploitation would start at some point this year.
“Yes, we have discovered gas in the Lupane-Lubimbi basin and we gave Discovery Investments a special grant to start exploiting the gas,” said Chidhakwa but declined to give details.
Calls to the local Discovery Investments office went unanswered.
Exploration started in 2014 after government ordered Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which has two coal-bed methane concessions in Lupane-Lubimbi area, to start exploring.
The government granted the exploration of gas a National Project Status in 2007, but did not take action until last year.
In April last year, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) managing director Mike Ndudzo told The Source that the government must put its house in order to attract investors for the project, with three ministries — mining, energy and industry are in disagreement over who should take charge of the project.
The coal gas is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds. In recent decades it has become an important source of energy being predominantly utilised in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries.
Methane gas is mostly used in power generation and fertiliser production.
According to media reports, the country’s sole Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser manufacturer, Sable Chemicals, has embarked on a feasibility study to exploit Coal Bed Methane (CBM) reserves in Lupane as it seeks to migrate from electrolysis to new technology.