Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 November 2010 – Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) “’ Zambia’s independent electricity utility “’ has called on engineering, procurement and construction contractors to show their interest in building the 40-MW Kabompo Gorge hydro-electric scheme in the country.
The power company, which supplies electricity to mines in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, has previously indicated that it plans to spend about US$120-million (R828 million) on developing the hydropower project by 2015.
This week, CEC called on EPC contractors or turnkey construction providers to submit expressions of interest to participate in the project within the next two weeks by 19 November.
It anticipated issuing invitations for bids by March 2011.
In October, CEC corporate development MD Michael Tarney said that the company planned to start construction on the project within the next two years. Current demand from customers amounted to 450 MW, but this could increase to between 750 MW and 800 MW by 2012, as the copper-mining industry in the country continued to grow.
CEC “’ which is also involved with the transmission of power on behalf of Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s SNEL electricity utility “’ has indicated that the Kabompo Gorge project would provide additional power supplies for the mining industry, but that it could also assist in stabilising the electricity on Zambia’s main power grid.
The Southern African country has an installed capacity of about 1 800 MW, with the majority of power being generated through hydropower schemes. The largest contribution comes from Zesco’s 900-MW Kafue Gorge power station, followed by the Kariba North Bank power station, which has an installed capacity of 720 MW.
However, power supplies in the country are expected to be tight in 2012, before new generation capacity is brought on line between 2013 and 2015.
Zesco was currently expanding the Kariba North Bank power station by an additional 360 MW at a cost of US$430 million (R2.9 billion).