By Business Reporter
CHIREDZI (Mining Index) – ENDOWED with vast high grade coal deposits, Masvingo province has the capacity to set up a thermal power station that can generate and supply electricity into the country’s national power grid.
This was echoed by the Provincial Mining Director for Masvingo province in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Mr Tariro Ndlovu during a business consultative indaba session with local business people held in Chiredzi recently organised by the Business Economic Empowerment Forum (B.E.E.F).
“Masvingo is one of the richest provinces in Zimbabwe. With huge coal deposits in the province, there is a possibility to set up a thermal power station that can supply electricity to the people of Masvingo province and the nation, said Ndlovu.
Although Zimbabwe’s coal potential is yet to be fully exploited, it is estimated that 12 billion tonnes of good quality coal reserves are situated in the middle Zambezi basin to the north, and Save Limpopo basin in the south of the country, where Masvingo province is geographically situated.
To top up its domestic electricity supplies, Zimbabwe currently imports electricity from South Africa and Mozambique. In March this year, central bank governor Dr John Mangudya revealed that Zimbabwe needs a weekly allowance of US$5 million for electricity imports from Eskom and HCB from Mozambique.
Zimbabwe derives its electricity from thermal and hydroelectric stations.
Hwange Thermal Power Station has a current installed capacity of 920 MW, Munyati 100MW, Bulawayo 90MW and Harare 80MW. The Kariba Hydroelectric Station has a capacity of 666MW, Kariba South Bank Extension 300MW while the new Tokwe Mukosi has a capacity of 12MW.
According to Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Kariba currently generates 862MW and Hwange 404MW, totalling 1266MW against a demand of 1,600 MW.
However, Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati thermal power stations are not contributing power to the national grid at the moment.
Earlier this year, government secured Chinese investors to expand the coal-fired Hwange plant by 600MW. ENDS//