HARARE – Zimbabwe’s State-run power generation outfit, ZESA Holdings Limited sensationally claimed on Sunday that a string of coal mines excerpt one, were ‘artisanal miners’ after they raised the red flag in the aftermath of heavy flooding triggered by torrential rains.

The coal miners, including Makomo Resources, which ships the largest volumes to ZESA Holdings’ coal mouth thermal power station at Hwange, feared that they could struggle to de-water flooded mines because over $100 million in cashflows was locked up at Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), which run the power station.

ZPC is the power generating unit of ZESA Holdings, which run several power stations across the country.

But ZESA Holdings executive chairman, Sydney Gata reacted sharply to claims that ZPC’s bill to mines had gone past $100 million.

He said ZESA had been paying its due and he would be meeting the ‘makorokozas’ (artisanal miners) soon to ‘embarrass’ them.

Gata told State media that excerpt for Hwange Colliery Company Limited, the rest -Makomo Resources and Hwange Gas – were shipping substandard products, which ZPC had just been paying for.

“I am meeting them (coal miners soon) to tell them that if they continue to supply rubbish coal, we will not pay. I will embarrass them. I was in Hwange yesterday (Thursday last week) and everyone is complaining about the quality of coal. Only Hwange can complain, not all those makorokozas,” he said.

Hwange, is the listed coal firms which is majority controlled by the Government of Zimbabwe.

There were fears on Sunday that the floods that rattle towns and villages in Hwange, some 700 kilometres north west of Zimbabwe, may spark a wave of fresh power cuts, dealing a blow to industries and domestic consumers already enduring serious blackouts.