Zambia’s Maamba coal
mine “’ output to
be doubled
 
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 June 2010 – Singapore’s Nava Bharat Pte plans to almost double output at Zambia’s Maamba coal mine by 2011, after modernising the facility it acquired last year, a senior industry official revealed today.

Nava Bharat acquired a 65% stake in Maamba, a key supplier of coal to the copper mines in Africa’s largest producer of the metal, last December, while 35% of the shares were retained by the state-run ZCCM-IH.

Nava Bharat also signed an agreement to build a 300-megawatt thermal power plant.

Mining permanent secretary, Godwin Beene told Reuters that Nava Bharat planned to build a new US$12 million (R90 million) coal processing plant by the end of 2010.

“Maamba mine will be producing close to 360 000 tonnes of coal for the first year while production for the next two years is likely to be 600 000 tonnes of marketable grade coal," Beene said in response to written questions.

Beene said Maamba mine “’ which has 78 million tonnes of known coal reserves expected to last over 70 years “’ aimed to reach a maximum output capacity of 2 million tonnes of coal per year in the long term. “Peak capacity is likely to be 1 million tonnes of marketable coal and about the same tonnage of power grade coal that will feed our power plant,” he said.

Beene said the power project was estimated to cost US$630 million (R4.8 billion) of which 70% would be financed through debt and the remaining 30% from equity by shareholders.

He added that a leading financial institution had been appointed transaction advisor and given the responsibility to syndicate funds to build the thermal power plant, planned for commissioning in three years.

Beene said negotiations with Zambia state power utility Zesco Ltd. for a long-term power purchase agreement had started, and Maamba expected to secure the financing for the project upon agreement with Zesco.