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German firm to build 400MW power plant

A GERMANY-BASED company plans to invest US$500 million into a 400 megawatt (MW) capacity solar energy plant, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has said.
And ZDA director-general Patrick Chisanga has called on investors across all sectors of the economy to be patient and exercise the spirit of understanding over the power rationing that the country is experiencing.
Once operational, the solar plant will feed into the Zesco distribution system and help to mitigate the power deficit.
Mr Chisanga said ZDA has already held meetings with the German investor on the power project.
“Once all the agreements have been finalised, the German firm will have to look for a piece of land where they will put solar panels to generate 400 megawatts of power,” Mr Chisanga said.
He was speaking in Chambishi on Wednesday shortly after touring Sino-Metals Leach Zambia Limited.
Mr Chisanga said ZDA has received several prospective investors from Britain and China who are willing to invest in solar energy.
Mr Chisanga also challenged mining companies to consider installing solar energy plants to generate power to sustain their operations.
“If we can generate small amounts of power as mining companies from solar technology, then we can continue to operate effectively,” he said.
Mr Chisanga is also happy with the massive investments at the Chambishi Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) where 41 companies have set up base.
He, however, said ZDA is working on strategies to encourage more Zambians to invest in the MFEZ.
“What we are seeing here is a reflection of the economic partnership between Zambia and China. The investments in the Chambishi Multi-Facility Economic Zone are impressive,” Mr Chisanga said.
Earlier, Sino-Metals Leach Zambia Limited assistant chief executive officer Martin Amukusana said power outages have adversely affected operations.
Mr Amukusana said Zesco has reduced power supply to the mine by 30 percent and this has affected operations.
“Per day, we process 18 tonnes of copper concentrates but we have now reduced our production capacity to seven tonnes due to power outages,” he said.
Mr Amukusana also said Sino- Metals Leach Zambia Limited is facing challenges in sourcing copper ore to feed its plant since its tailings dams have been exhausted.
Mr Chisanga and a delegation of ZDA officials also visited Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS), which is in the MFEZ and held a meeting with management.
He said the power deficit that the country is experiencing is temporary and will come to an end in few months’ time.
He said the problem has been caused by the drastic drop of water levels at the Kariba North Bank due to poor rainfall last year.
“Investors need to exercise the spirit of understanding on the issue of power problems the country is experiencing. This is a temporary phase and setback to the economy. We’ll soon overcome this setback,” Mr Chisanga said.
Mr Chisanga said local and foreign firms should exploit investment opportunities available in renewable energy sectors like solar and wind to cushion the power deficit.
He said renewable energy could greatly help in times of low water levels in reservoirs for power generation if fully embraced.