Message Lun 7 Sep 2009 09:32

CEC stakes K400m for Mwinilunga power plant

CEC stakes K400m for Mwinilunga power plant

By Gilbert Kaimana
and Sylvia Mweetwa

PLANS to construct a hydropower plant in Mwinilunga by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) at a cost of K400 million has reached an advanced stage, as the World Bank has shown interest in financing the project.

Mwinilunga District Commissioner, Webster Samakesa said in an interview that the World Bank, who are major financiers for the Kabompo Gorge Power station project, recently sent a team of experts to the district on a fact-finding mission.

“I can confirm that plans for the construction of a hydro plant in the district are underway and work is expected to commence early next year, we are excited about the project because this will address electricity concerns,” he said.

It was exciting that the feasibility study was already underway while an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study had also been initiated.

CEC, in partnership with Tata Africa, won the right to conduct feasibility studies for the construction of the 40-mega watts power plant at Kabompo Gorge near the boundary with Solwezi.

The power supply company, which sells power to the mines on the Copperbelt, would this week conduct public discussions in Solwezi and Mwinilunga to present its plans to develop the project and obtain views from stakeholders on the social and environmental impact.

Mr Samakesa said once constructed, the hydro power plant would also supply power to Lumwana Mine and surrounding areas in Solwezi as well as Mwinilunga.

He was happy that the private sector had considered partnering with the Government by coming up with such developmental projects, which were aimed at improving the lives of people.

Mr Samakesa said the plant would create job opportunities for many, a move that would in turn improve the lives of people.

It was gratifying that some investors were bringing their investment strength to the district.

CEC chief executive officer, Neil Croucher said the power supply company was excited about the investment it had earmarked for the project, because it would help solve the problem of power shortages expected when the mines resume full production.

Some mines had suspended projects because of a fall in prices of minerals on the international market, but the rebound in the prices would see more of the mining companies resume the projects.

Mr Croucher said the situation would exert pressure on the existing generation capacity, and CEC wanted to assist by investing in the project and other sites, while at a larger scale the company had expressed interest in developing the 750-mega watts Kafue Gorge Lower power station.