A massive coal-fired power plant project is in the pipelines, as Makomo Resources – Zimbabwe’s largest coal miner – announces plans to spend US$ 1.5. billion on constructing a 600 MW plant.
Makomo also announced plans to start exporting coal to steelmakers in southern Africa.
Finance director of Makomo, Tendai Mungoni, said construction of the plant will begin in 2018. The company’s mines in Hwange will finance the plant. Mungoni has also said Chinese investors will help finance the project, although he declined to identify them.
Zimbabwe government estimates suggest the country has as many as 15 billion t in reserves of coal.
“We expect to spend about US$ 1.5 billion on that power plant,” Mungoni said. “We have lined up very keen investors, some from the region, some offshore – the Chinese.”
Zimbabwe is expanding power generation capacity to limit blackouts that have paralysed coal mines and the coal sector. State-owned Zimbabwe Power Co., which operates the Hwange power plant, has asked Mokomo to double supply of coal from 60 000 tpm of coal to 120 000 tpm.
The country currently produces an average 1300 MW of power, compared with peak demand of 2200 MW. This shortage has led to daily rationing and electricity cuts.
The Makomo plant would go some way to addressing the power shortage.
Makomo is looking to raise funding by expanding exports – moving 20 000 t of metallurgical coal over July and increasing this to 80 000 t in August.
“Currently, exports will be sent to regional destinations – South Africa, Zambia, thereabouts,” Mungoni said. “With time, we intend to see how that launch goes, we intend to go further afield.”
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
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