NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
MAAMBA Collieries Limited (MCL) is engaging key stakeholders in the mining industry on possibilities of increasing its thermal-generated power plant to 600 megawatts (MW) in view of the growing electricity demand in the country.
Last year, President Edgar Lungu commissioned the 300MW of power at MCL and connected to the national grid through Zesco Limited.
Company corporate affairs senior manager Mayford Chikoya said in an interview on Tuesday that under phase II, the coal-fired power plant will cost around US$850 million.
“We have started discussions with the mines for phase two of the project. A committee has been formed to look at all the necessary documentation for the construction of the phase two project.
“Construction of the phase two of the thermal power plant is expected to start early next year,” Mr Chikoya said.
The committee is composed of officials from MCL, Ministry of Finance, Energy and selected stakeholders that deal in electricity.
He said the company will source for financiers once documentation for the project is finalised soon.
Mr Chikoya said the construction of the power plant will not take long like the first phase because basic infrastructure is already in place.
“We will still use the same power lines running from the thermal power plant to Muzuma, same water pipe line and coal handling plant. The first phase is running smoothly… The project is expected to be commissioned end of this month and hopefully, the power plant will be stable,” he said.
Mr Chikoya, however, said constant supply of power is being affected by Zesco Limited as it is still upgrading its transmission lines from Muzuma power station to Kafue from 220-330 kilovolts.
He said because of the major works being undertaken by Zesco, the power plant is constantly cutting on supply.
Currently, MCL is producing 300MW of power, and 265MW is supplied to Zesco, while the remaining 35 is used for the thermal plant.