Lusaka, Zambia — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 30 March 2011 – Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corp. (CEC) “’ the country’s largest supplier of power to its mines “’ plans to invest over US$900 million in new projects by 2018 to meet rising mining sector demand.
Company spokeswoman Chama Kalima told Reuters that CEC planned to develop five new hydro sites in northern Zambia, with a combined potential to produce 800MW.
“These would be developed in sequence, with the first two sites alone estimated to cost US$800 million,” Kalima said. “An associated transmission line to connect northern Zambia to the Copperbelt region through the Democratic Republic of Congo is estimated to cost US$100 million,” she added.
Kalima said the projects were subject to multiple approvals because they involved two countries.
“Commissioning is expected in 2018, should all necessary requirements and approvals be obtained within the planned period,” Kalima said.
CEC will invite other investors to help develop the projects but will work alone in the initial stages, she explained. Kalima said the five projects would benefit from Zambia’s introduction of tax breaks for new power projects.
“CEC has also made significant progress in developing the 40MW Kabompo hydro power project in north-western Zambia, expected to be commissioned in 2015 at a cost of US$170 million,” Kalima revealed.
She pointed out that miners’ demand for power in Zambia “’ Africa’s largest copper producer “’ was rising rapidly, with CEC’s sales up by 8 % to 470MW in 2010 from 436 MW in 2009.
CEC needed to boost its output after having signed new supply agreements with mining companies building new projects and expanding existing mines.