Kleinmond, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 04 March 2011 – Zimbabwe mining group RioZim expects to produce its first electricity from the company’s planned 2 400MW Sengwa coal-fired power plant by 2014.
Like South Africa, Zimbabwe “’ which relies heavily on its mining industry to prop up an economy struggling to overcome years of decline “’ is also battling a chronic power shortage which has curbed output.
“We should have the first 600MW unit on site by 2014 with the last unit completed by 2020. Zimbabwe is desperate for power,” managing director Josphat Sachikonye told Reuters on the sidelines of the NG mining conference here.
The company also expects to seal a strategic partnership deal in May for the US$3 billion plant which will get feedstock from the Sengwa coal mine, a 50-50 joint venture with Rio Tinto.
“The appetite has been very strong and we are in some serious discussions which are close to conclusion with regard to a strategic partner. By May we expect to reach a deal,” Sachikonye said.
But he did not want to provide details of the likely partner.
Sengwa coal mine had reserves of 1.3 billion tonnes, and Sachikonye said the company would investigate thermal coal exports once infrastructure challenges had been overcome.
He went on to reveal that the company expected its deep Cam and Motor gold mine, which stopped producing in 1968, to restart production next year at an initial 66 000ozpa, before reaching full production at nearly double that rate in 2014.
Sachikonye went on to say that once the restarted gold mine and power plant projects were operational, RioZim would consider a secondary listing to attract more capital and increase shareholder value.
“We have talked to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the London Alternative Market, and a secondary listing could happen by 2014,” he predicted.