26 September 2012 – According to news agency reports, China’s Guangdong Bureau of Coal Geology plans to invest US$3.5 billion to build a 1,200 MW thermal power plant in Zimbabwe. The country requires about 2,200 MW at peak consumption but generates just below 1,300 MW, and relies on imports to fill the gap. However, these imports have been disrupted due to outstanding payments owed by Zimbabwe.

Energy minister Elton Mangoma recently said Zimbabwe has reduced its debt to power providers to under US$20 million from aboutUS$100 million in a bid to resume imports.In July, he told parliament that China Railway International, a subsidiary of China Railway Group and Zimbabwe’s state power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) plans to jointly run a coal mine that would supply a proposed 1,000 MW thermal power station.

Finance minister Tendai Biti says that Zimbabwe was negotiating for a US$350 million Chinese loan to expand its Kariba South power station to provide an additional 300 MW of power to the current 750 MW.China’s Sino Hydro is the sole bidder for the Kariba South project.

The Guangdong Bureau of Coal Geology has held talks with Zimbabwe government officials over the thermal power project which is yet to be finalised, according to the report in The Herald newspaper.