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Thousands benefit from Hwange 7 & 8 spin-offs

by Staff reporter
29 Jun 2023 at 06:25hrs | Views
THE US$1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8 expansion project in Matebeleland North province has generated immense economic and social spin-offs amid reports that 50 000 people and international entities have directly benefitted from the massive project through employment and provision of various supplies.

The project has proved to be a critical economic enabler beyond increased power generation as it has boosted several ancillary projects that feed into the ongoing construction works.

On the economic front, it has had a massive downstream impact on suppliers of key materials such as coal production and supply, cement and limestone production, and quarry, as well as transport and logistics providers led by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ). The project's positive impact dovetails with the Second Republic's drive to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

ZPC is also engaged in the construction of homes under the Relocation Action Plan (RAP), a compensatory housing project for the community whose homes were affected by the new transmission line for the Hwange Expansion Project.

The families had to be moved to pave the way for the transmission line and as a result, 72 houses are set to be built while some have already been handed over to affected families. Tenders for the construction of the houses were awarded to indigenous companies bearing witness to the Second Republic's commitment to black empowerment.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) commissioned another batch of 29 houses at Hope Fountain, which consist of a three-roomed main structure made up of a lounge and two bedrooms.

A separate, spacious kitchen with a thatched roof is situated near the main house. The houses are expected to greatly improve the livelihoods of community members through provision of decent accommodation, employment opportunities during the tenure of the project and value creation.

Detailing the benefits of the project yesterday, ZPC acting managing director, Engineer Norbet Mataruse, said 50 000 people have tapped into one of the Second Republic's signature projects aimed at boosting power generation to support economic transformation.

"In terms of people who got employed and benefitted, I can put it at 50 000," said Eng Mataruse.

"On the benefits that have accrued to the Zimbabwe populace in terms of this project, it will need months or even a year to narrate because you talk of employment, you talk of suppliers, we have a lot of companies that were supplying materials towards the construction of the two power plants.

"Surely, we have provided employment, provided business not only in Hwange but nationally and internationally," he added.

Another beneficiary of Hwange power station expansion project is the extension of the existing Deka Water Pipeline Project. The US$48,1 million funded project from a line of credit extended by Indian Government has also created employment for locals in Hwange and some downstream industries are benefitting.

Hwange Power Station draws raw water for electricity generation and cooling from the Zambezi River and the Deka water project is crucial in that regard.

The water demand for Unit 7 and 8 is said to be about 1 860 cubic metres per hour and a new 250 000 cubic metre reservoir to complement the existing one has been constructed as part of the expansion project.

The project scope includes the construction of a new 42 kilometre, 960 millimetre diameter pipeline from Deka High Lift pump station to Hwange Power Station.

The Government, through Zesa's subsidiary, ZPC, is implementing the Hwange Expansion Project, which is set to increase the national electricity supply by 600 megawatts, as part of President Mnangagwa's vision to achieve an upper-middle-income society by 2030.

Its scope of work entails the construction of two 300MW units at Hwange Power Station and power evacuation transmission and distribution infrastructure.

The national project officially commenced on August 1, 2018, and is now 80,2 percent complete.

Built at a cost of about US$1,5 billion by a Chinese contractor, Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion is one of the Second Republic's signature projects aimed at boosting power generation to support economic transformation in line with the National Development Strategy.

After the rehabilitation of the six units, Hwange will be able to produce a maximum of 1 520MW with 920MW from units 1 to 6 and 600MW from Unit 7 and 8. The expansion project started in 2018 but was affected by a number of  unforeseen events such as the Covid-19 outbreak.

Source - The Herald