Zambian coal power plant construction to start


[] — SINGAPORE’S Nava Bharat Pte plans to start construction of a 300 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Zambia by the end of 2011 and complete it by 2014, company director Ashwin Devineni said on Saturday.

“We have finalised the detailed layout of the power plant initially for 300 MW and later for an additional 300 MW,” Devineni said in a statement.

The investment outlay for the first phase of the project – a new coal mine and the power plant – will be about $750m.

Devineni said full-scale mining and operations at Zambia’s largest coal producer, Maamba Collieries, where the power plant will be built, is expected to resume in August.

Maamba Collieries, once a key supplier of coal to the country’s copper mines, produced about 600,000 tonnes of coal per year in the 1980s, but production has slumped due to years of undercapitalisation and operational losses.

The new mine, which is expected to produce 360,000 tonnes of coal in its first year, aims to reach a maximum output capacity of 2 million tonnes per year eventually.

State-run Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) owns 35% of the Maamba mine.