Wankie has appointed Merchant Bank of Central Africa (MBCA) to raise the required US$25 million.
"The new mine is expected to commence production in the last quarter of 2004. A contingency plan has already been put in place and work is in progress to ensure that the new mine will be open on time even if the securing of funding is delayed," Wankie secretary Thembelani Ncube told All Africa.
Wankie have already delayed the mine’s opening in July after it failed to raise the funds required to get the mine into operation.
The new 25 year mine has a significant quantity of low-phosphorous coal and it was hoped it could help turnaround the loss-making coal producer.
The underground mine has the capacity to produce 150,000 tonnes of coal. Wankie has been pinning its hopes of resuming normal coal supplies on the new mine, which covers a surface area of 2,250 hectares and is located south of its existant opencast mine.
The Financial Gazette reported in July that Wankie has already spent about US$82 million in sourcing mining equipment for the underground mine. Joy Mining Machinery South Africa had been tasked to supply the equipment, which includes a 12HM31 continuous miner and three D-shuttle car with a planned output of 120,000t per month.