17 June 2008 – A consortium of mining companies is currently negotiating with the Volta River Authority, (VRA) to transfer an 80 megawatt power plant they have contrasted to the Authority. The Mines Reserve Power Plant, which was constructed at a cost of more than US$45 million in June 2007, was to be used by mining companies only in load-shedding situations. However, the Africa Regional Vice President of Newmont, Jeff Huspeni, explained that the companies want to transfer the plant to the VRA to augment its efforts to address the supply deficit.

There is a supply shortfall of more than 300MW. The Mines Reserve Plant has a diesel consumption capacity of about 700 000 litres and the rising cost of world crude oil prices is expected to put further strain on the VRA’s already precarious financial position. “The power plant acquired by the four mining firms, which include Newmont Ghana Limited, Goldfields Ghana, Anglogold-Ashanti, and Golden Star Resources, has been made available to the VRA to supplement any energy generation shortfalls in the country.

“The companies are optimising the Mines Reserve Power Plant for maximum power generation while negotiating the transfer agreement to VRA,” he said. He continued that the current transmission constraint of 610 MW in the Western corridor needs to be addressed since the power landscape mining companies face today is that of a supply deficit, limiting further mining development. “Removal of Valco demand gives a false sense of the quantum of deficit in the system,” he added. The demand for power consumption in the country is expected to grow at 7.6% over the next five years.

The major demand drivers include load for new mines and increased domestic consumption. Currently, electricity consumption in the country is estimated at 7.095 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), while production capacity is pegged at 6.489 billion kWh.