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Zambia expects to meet rising power demand from mines

Power “’ Zambia will
meet mining
industry’s rising
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 July 2010 – The government of Zambia “’ Africa’s top copper producer “’ says it is confident that new power supply projects will be on stream in time to meet rising demand from the country’s mining industry.

Energy minister Kenneth Konga said in an interview with Reuters that Zambia planned to build new power stations, including the 218 megawatt (MW) Kalungwishi hydropower plant. Construction of Kalungwishi in northern Zambia would begin next year.

Demand for electricity by the mines in Zambia is estimated to rise to 1 000 MW within five years from the current 800 MW, following a rally in copper prices that encouraged mining companies to invest in new copper projects..

“Zambia is likely to achieve its production target of about 1 million tonnes of copper by 2011, from just below 700 000 tonnes in 2009,” Chibamba Kanyama, economist at the Economics Association of Zambia, said this month.

“The attorney-general finally approved the Kalungwishi power project and now we are actually in the process of signing the implementation agreement so that the developer can organise the financing and start building early next year," Konga said. Zambia generates 1 400 MW of electricity and consumes about 800 MW, but demand rises to 1 500 MW at peak times.

Konga said Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya would start raising funds next month for a US$780 million (almost R6 billion) power line linking the three countries, with a power transfer capacity of 400 MW. The project was planned for completion in 2015. “We are on the verge of going out to announce that the project is available for investment,” he added.

Konga went on to say that a Chinese bank had offered to cover a large portion of the cost of building a 600 MW power plant, which would significantly raise Zambia’s power output when commissioned in 2017.