HARARE – Zimbabwean nickel producer, Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC), says it is getting only about half of its power requirements from State electricity producer, Zesa Holdings Limited.

Managing director, Batirai Manhando said last week that through the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, BNC had approached government to prioritise the mining industry, the biggest foreign currency earner in the southern African country.

About US$2 billion is generated from the sector every year.

“We have not been spared of load shedding,” Manhando said.

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“We are running on five megawatts, which is not adequate to run operations. Our operations require at least 10 megawatts.  We have got assurance that the mining industry will be prioritised. We hope to see less disruption for all production,” said Manhando.

He said BNC had plans to access direct power imports from Mozambique, but Zimbabwe’s debt to HCB had affected the plans.

The country owes about US$35 million to the Mozambican power firm, which has reduced exports to Harare to press Zesa to pay its debt.

About US$33 million was owed to South Africa’s Eskom at the end of May, but SA and Zimbabwe last week agreed on a payment plan that has improved power exports from Pretoria.

Zimbabwe’s mines surrender half of their foreign currency earnings to the central bank.