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Zimbabwe: RioZim gold mine turns to coal power

coal smokestack
RioZim requires a daily generation output of 1,400MW which it plans to obtain from various coal-fired power plants

In Southern Africa, Zimbabwean mining company RioZim on Monday unveiled the company’s plans to generate an estimated 1,400MW of coal-fired power utilising coal resources from its concession in Sengwa in the north west of the country.

RioZim’s chief executive Noah Matimba said the mining company was talking to regional power trading firm Southern African Power Pool about a potential power supply agreement, reported Reuters.

According to Matimba, RioZim will require a $2.1 billion investment to develop coal-fired power plants with a generation capacity of 200MW to 300MW in order to produce a daily output of 1,400MW.

Attracting investment

RioZim, a minority shareholder in UK-based diamond miners Rio Tinto, holds 1.36 billion coal deposits at its Sengwa consession in north west Zimbabwe.

Matimba stated: “We do need a power purchase agreement in order that we can attract investors or attract those lenders that can give us debt.”

“We have signed a MOU with the Southern African Power Pool in the hope that we can begin to discuss a power purchase agreement with them and be able to create the necessary demand to attract investors and to attract debt if we should go that route”, Matimba added.

Insufficient power capacity

Reuters reported that the state-owned Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said on Monday that the country’s electricity production was 801MW, compared with the peak demand of 2,200MW, after it shut down its $1.7 billion coal-fired Hwange power plant due to technical faults.

Hwange has a capacity of 920MW but produces less than half that electricity due to ageing equipment and lack of maintenance, Reuters said.

Last month, ZPC said it plans to build new power stations to generate 3,500MW of power at a cost of $5 billion but did not say where the money would come from.

Kuyasa Mining

In other mining power news, South African coal producer Kuyasa Mining is submitting a proposal to develop the KiPower 600MW coal-fired power plant costing an estimated $1.7 billion in the government’s next procurement round for electricity generation from private companies, Bloomberg reported.

KiPower is an Independent Power Producer (IPP) that will be funded by a combination of banks and development finance institutions, Ayanda Bam, a director and founder of Kuyasa, said: “They will fund our bid with us being the lead developer.”

Bloomberg reported that South Africa’s Department of Energy stated last month that they would procure 2,500MW of coal-fired projects from IPPs.

Kuyasa plans to locate the plant at its mine near Delmas, Mpumalanga.

Bam said KiPower could have a date in June for when construction of the plant will begin, media said.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.