RioZim, the Zimbabwean mining company, ponders to generate approximately 1 400 MW of electricity using coal from its concession in the north west, CE Noah Matimba said on Monday. Matimba said RioZim was talking to regional power trading firm Southern African Power Pool and big Zimbabwean electricity users about an agreement to sell them electricity.
He told a parliamentary committee that his company needed $2.1-billion to build power plants generating between 200 MW and 300 MW for a daily total of 1,400 MW.
RioZim, a gold miner and minority shareholder in Rio Tinto’s Murowa diamond mine, has a coal concession at Sengwa, in north western Zimbabwe that holds 1.36-billion in coal deposits. “We do need a power purchase agreement in order that we can attract investors or attract those lenders that can give us debt,” Matimba said.
“We have signed an 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,” he said. On Monday, the state-owned Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said electricity production was 801 MW, compared with peak demand of 2,200 MW, after it shut down its Hwange plant due to technical faults.
Hwange has a capacity of 920 MW but produces less than half that electricity due to ageing equipment and lack of maintenance. Chronic power cuts lasting up to 18 hours a day are regular in Zimbabwe, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running. Electricity shortages have been blamed for keeping away potential investors.