Message Sam 5 Oct 2013 11:15

Reliable electricity supply in Zambia

The African Development Bank (AfDB) approves US$150m loan for reliable electricity supply in Zambia - The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Wednesday approved a loan of US$ 150 million to finance a 300MW coal-fired power plant and revamp the Maamba coal mine in Maamba, Zambia.

According to an AfDB statement, issued here Friday, the projects are aimed at tackling the severe environmental concerns at the mine, caused by the unregulated and spontaneous self-combustion of tons of unused low-grade coal during the generation of electricity for the country and the region.

The Maamba power plant project will increase supply and reliability of electricity in Zambia which is currently experiencing blackout and is heavily reliant on drought-sensitive hydro power, it said.

Zambia’s hydro power production accounts for 96% of total production, which exposes the country to severe economic risks in case of drought.

By capitalizing on readily-available low-grade coal resources and diversifying away from hydro power, the project will serve as a good example of mitigation and adaptation to climatic changes in the region.

It said that the power plant will use well-proven and advanced technology, featuring high combustion efficiency and reduced GHG emissions for a lower overall environmental footprint.

The project is being developed by the Maamba Collieries Limited, a company incorporated in Zambia in 1971 and privatized in 2010 through a joint venture between Nava Bharat Singapore Pte Limited (NBS) and the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), a public investments holding company.

PANA reports that the AfDB is playing a leading role in mobilizing capital from development finance institutions (DFIs) and commercial financiers, and coordinating the due diligence process for the US$ 800-million project.

Following the Board’s approval, AfDB’s Division Manager for Infrastructure Finance, Tas Anvaripour, said, “After the approval of the Ithezi Thezi hydropower project in 2012, I am delighted to reaffirm AfDB's commitment to support Zambia’s power sector as it embarks onto the path of energy source diversification and resilience in an increasingly climate change-sensitive environment.

'By capitalizing on readily available low-grade coal resources that are otherwise left to self-combust in the open air and inflict an environmental burden on the entire Maamba area, the project will produce much-needed power for households, businesses and government, while remedying a long-standing environmental concern.”

Pana 05/10/2013