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Zambia is the second largest copper producer in Africa. Pic credit: Investors hub

In Zambia, state-owned power supply company Zesco will import 100MW of electricity and drive construction plans for new generation plants to reduce the strain on the national power grid, government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said on Monday.

The country’s power deficit of 560MW is having a negative impact on the mining sector, which Zambia is largely dependent on for its significant contribution to the country’s economic growth— Zambia is the second largest copper producer on the continent, Reuters reported.

Low rainfall

With climate change wreaking havoc on the water levels at the country’s hydropower plants, the government plans to cut the mine’s power supply by 30% this week.

In efforts to address the power deficit, Kambwili said: “Cabinet has explored the option of power-renting from ships docked at sea.”

According to Kambwili, the power company has no option but to ration electricity until the rainy season in October.

He added that the cabinet has approved the construction of a 340MW thermal power plant to contribute towards the country’s power generation capacity.

Hydropower

This week ESI reported that Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have announced the development of hydropower plants on the Luapula River, which forms part of the border between the two countries, as part of long-term measures to boost power generation in the region.

The signed inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding will see joint hydropower projects commence in 2017, with a completion date set for 2020.