Our History



Hwange Coal was discovered in 1893 and was known to the locals as the “the rock that burns”. The first coal mining expedition began in 1902. The coal was initially transported by ox wagon and later by rail as a railway line from Bulawayo to Hwange was constructed in 1903.

This development enabled the company to increase its coal supply. Mining was primarily by underground pillar mining hand got system. Opencast mining was intermittent and limited to small pits to supplement underground mining operations during times of increased coal demands. In 1927 and 1953 number two and three collieries were commissioned respectively to increase coal production. However, number one colliery was decommissioned in 1961 and after the Kamandama mine shaft disaster in 1972, number two shaft was closed.

To make up for the lost production number four mine shaft was commissioned in 1976. Due to the increased demand for coal and the opening up of the Hwange thermal power station, the Opencast mine was commissioned as a result in 1982 to meet up the coal demands from the power station. To date several, the company continues to implement several initiatives including investing in equipment in order to increase the mines production capacity. This and other strategic initiatives will ensure consistent coal supply to the local and regional markets.



Our Corporate Journey Thus Far


  • 1949

    The Government implemented the recommendations of the Wankie Coal Commission Report, which confirmed the need for additional capital investment into the Company.

  • 1958

    Wankie Colliery Company Limited under Anglo American Corporation is listed in the Rhodesia, Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges.

    Sharp decline in coal sales as a result of the commissioning of the Kariba hydro-electric power station.

  • 1972

    A major disaster struck Wankie Colliery Company when a coal-dust explosion swept through No. 2 Colliery killing 427 miners on 6 June 1972. The shaft was subsequently closed.

  • 1982

    The JKL Opencast mine operations were commissioned and then enabling Wankie to meet increased coal demand levels. The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority’s thermal power station at Hwange, specifically designed to burn Wankie power coal, was commissioned.

  • 1993

    HCCL acquires stake in ZimChem Refiners (Pvt) Ltd a chemical manufacturing Company located in the Midlands town of Redcliff

  • 1994

    Coal production output reaches 6 million tonnes and is the highest ever in the history of the Company

  • 1998

    Acquisition of 49% stake in Clay Products (Pvt) Limited

  • 1999

    Severe underground conditions leads to the decommissioning of No.3 underground mine.

  • 2004

    Wankie Colliery Company Limited is rechristened Hwange Colliery Company Limited in line with the change in the name of the town.

  • 2005

    Opening of 3 main underground mine.

    Awarded Best Turnaround Award in the Zimbabwe Independent Quoted Companies Survey.

  • 2006

    Started operations at Chaba Opencast Mine.

  • 2007

    Company commissions joint venture coke oven battery with a Chinese investor. Company gets an ISO 9001:2000. Quality Management System certification by Standards Association of Zimbabwe.

  • 2013

    Commissions mining equipment worth $20 million from Bell and Sany.

  • 2014

    • Company awards USD 260 million mining contract to Mota Engil a Portuguese mining firm.
    • Company secures USD 31.2 million credit facilities to capitalise the opencast mine.
  • 1903

    First consignment of coal leaving by railway for Bulawayo where previously transportation was by ox drawn wagons.

  • 1897

    The commencement of official prospecting and surveying of coal deposits in the Hwange District.

  • 2017

    Company entered into the Creditors Scheme of Arrangement which created the operating space for the company to implement its turnaround and business plans.

    • Production rose from 30 000 tonnes a month first quarter to 300 000 tonnes per month by the third quarter.
    • Resuscitation of 3 Main underground operations commenced and the refurbished Continuous Miner was delivered to the mine.
  • 1961

    No 1 Colliery is decommissioned

  • 1899

    The Wankie (Rhodesia) Coal, Railway and Exploration Company was registered on 22 April with an authorised share capital of one million pounds.

  • 1976

    First opencast mining operations were started in response to increased demand.

    No. 4 Colliery is commissioned but was decommissioned in 1980 owing to the adverse ground conditions

  • 1983

    Government of Zimbabwe acquires 40% of Wankie Colliery Company Limited

  • 1953

    The Anglo American Corporation takes over from Powell Duffryn Limited and the next 4 years was a time of expansion until output met demand of 4 million tonnes in 1957. The No.3 underground mine is commissioned.

  • 1950

    Powell Duffryn Limited takes over Company’s operations and initiated an expansion programme.

  • 1927

    Opening of No. 2 Colliery Mine (Kamandama shaft).

  • 1909

    Wankie (Rhodesia) Coal, Railway and Exploration Company Limited is reconstituted as the Wankie Colliery Company Limited with annual production of over a quarter of a million metric tonnes of coal.

  • 1902

    January saw the main incline shaft or main drift, of what became No. 1 Colliery, reaching the coal