The international foray has been forced by the sharp drop in domestic sales volumes which declined over 25% in 2012 compared to the same time in 2011.

Hwange Colliery chairperson Farai Mutangamira was quoted by as saying that the company witnessed a 22% decrease in overall production besides a 50% decrease in deliveries for the year resulting from competition in a stagnant market.

"An international marketing strategy to penetrate new continental and overseas markets for coal and coke is being pursued," said Mutangamira.

"On the domestic market, the thrust will be to intensify customer service and consolidate market leadership, focusing on power generation, the tobacco industry and the manufacturing industry.

Mutangamira further revealed that the company is commissioning $6.3m worth equipment obtained as part of a pre-purchase financing arrangement with a major customer.

"The awarding of tenders for the supply of mining equipment worth $40-million is also currently in progress and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter."