Zimbabwe News

Government gives mining firms 2 years to set up power plants

The Government has given large-scale miners two years, that is, up to 2026, to establish their own power generation plants.

The local electricity demand is projected to be above 3,000 megawatts in two years due to the growth in the mining and smelting sectors.

Besides the US$1,5 billion Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Discosteel) plant in Manhize near Mvuma, Midlands, which commenced production of pig iron on Wednesday, 12 June, there are several other projects across the country.

In an interview with State media on the sidelines of the Energy and Power Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee workshop in Bulawayo recently, Energy and Power Development Minister, Edgar Moyo, said the government expects electricity demand to rise to 3 200MW.

He said the mining sector alone was expected to consume about 2 600MW, agriculture 120MW and households 500MW. Said Moyo:

We recognise that the mining sector is growing, particularly with the coming of the lithium mines. The power demand has surged phenomenally.

And, as the Government we cannot adequately provide power alone, we need to do it with the private sector.

We have approved a policy that these miners, particularly, the ferrochrome miners who are heavily subsidised, should develop their own generation plants from the renewable side.

We gave ferrochrome miners two years to set up their own generation plants. The time frame begins this year, which is 2024 and we expect that by 2026 they should have set up their own generation plants.

They can have their own solar plants to augment what they get from the national grid. We are going into a kind of partnership where the responsibility to provide power has to be shared between the Government and the mining companies.

Moyo also said Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were producing nearly 100MW and the projection was that the national consumption will shoot to 3 000MW.

He said the country still has a deficit of between 200MW and 500MW depending on the days.

On Thursday, June 13, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said Hwange was generating 911MW, Kariba 450MW and IPPs 44 MW.

However, load shedding has intensified across the country over the past week or so, leading many people to express doubt about the statistics provided by ZPC.

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