Shanghai Electric, Shenergy Co Ltd and Nan Jiang Group will join to form a consortium – Southern Africa Shanghai Energiser Company (SASEC), with the of setting up a coal mine and 1 200 MW thermal power station to sell power to Zimbabwean national utility, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and export power to the rest of the region.

The chairman of the southern Africa arm of Nan Jiang, Jonathan Kadzura said: ‘In Zimbabwe we have an acute shortage of power. It does not end within Zimbabwean borders, but throughout Africa.’

ZPC currently produces only 1,100 MW of power; half is what is required to meet national electricity demand. Under a MoU signed by the three Chinese countries, the group will mine coal and build the power plant in the country’s western coal mining belt. It is estimated to take three years to generate the first 300MW.

“They want to build the power station in three stages up to 1,200 MW and they are going to finance it as an independent power producer,’ said Kadura.

Chinese project consultancy and engineering firm, Sino Hydo has also been contracted to add 300MW to the Kariba hydro power plant, as well as 600MW to the Hwange Thermal Power Station.