Zimbabwe’s Hwange
power station
Harare, Zimbabwe — 03 September 2013 – China Africa Sunlight Energy Limited has announced that it plans to invest as much as US$2.1 billion developing coal mines and building a 2,100-megawatt plant powered by the fuel, in Zimbabwe to help ease electricity shortages.

The company, a venture between Old Stone Investments Limited of Zimbabwe and Shandong Taishan Sunlight, will start with capacity to produce 300 megawatts by mid-2015, and then raise this to 600 megawatts by the end of that year, general manager Charles Mugari said. The company has spent US$20 million on exploration, and was granted rights to look for coal and coal-bed methane in the area in October 2012, reports Bloomberg News.

“For our project to be fully operational, we are looking at five years,” he said in an interview in Gwayi, 703km south-west of the capital. “For the coal mining, we are looking at the end of next year. For power generation and coal mining we are planning to sink in a billion dollars.” The company also wants to mine coking coal, which is used in steelmaking.

China Africa Sunlight Energy is working to sell some of its electricity to ZESA Limited, the state-owned power-generation company, Mugari said.

The coal exploration area, in Gwayi in the western Matabeleland region, has 4 billion tonnes of resources, and China Africa Sunlight Energy is conducting studies to measure how much gas is available, with the results to be known in three months, he added. “If they discover gas, the way we think they are going to, we want to export the gas overseas to India” in partnership with Discovery Investments Limited, Mugari revealed.  

Depending on the outcome of the gas study, the company wants to start a programme piloting methane gas for domestic gas in Hwange, also in Matabeleland, and extend this to Bulawayo, the second-biggest city, if successful, he said. The projects will create 4,500 jobs.

China Africa Sunlight Energy is looking at the possibility of pumping gas to the port city of Beira in neighbouring Mozambique, using an idle pipeline that the National Oil Co. of Zimbabwe once used to bring fuel into the country, according to Mugari.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.