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Zimplats imports power directly from Zambia

by Staff reporter
12 Jan 2024 at 04:59hrs | Views
Zimplats, the country's largest platinum producer, now directly imports up to 70 megawatts from Zambia, ensuring stable operations and potentially boosting production.

Last year, Zimplats signed a direct import power agreement with the Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO), resulting in improved power stability and availability, the mining giant said in August last year.

ZESA's daily power supply reports shows that the miner is importing electricity from Zambia's power utility.

Respondents to the Chamber of Mines' survey last year listed the power situation as a significant impediment.

The respondents reported that the power supply situation remained predominantly fragile with some unscheduled power supply outages.

They expected the power supply situation to worsen citing emerging demand from new and expansion projects that will result in power shortages in the outlook.  

On average, mining executives are expecting operations to consume more power this year.

Analysis of survey data shows that electricity demand is expected to increase by around 20 percent in 2024 while diesel consumption is expected to increase by 35 percent.

Most respondents cited ongoing capital projects as the major drivers of energy.

Respondents recommended the prioritisation of mining companies for available power and incentivise private power projects including tax incentives to support investments in Independent Power Projects that supplement locally available power.

Zimplats has already started the construction of a 185MW solar plant to power up its operations.

During the first phase, the company is gearing up to install 35MW of solar capacity at the Selous Metallurgical Complex. This initial phase is expected to cost US$37 million.

The entire project, estimated to cost US$201 million, is expected to be completed in 2027.

In the past two years, Zimplats spent around more than US$570 million on capital projects related to stay-in-business, replacement mines and expansion projects.

Of the total, US$300 million has been spent last year.

The projects include the replacement of depleting mines, establishment of a new concentrator plant, refurbishment of the mothballed base metal refinery, construction of a 35MW solar plant, construction of a 38MW furnace, as well as a Sulphur dioxide abatement technology.

Zimplats also planning to inject US$190 million to refurbish its mothballed Base Metal Refinery.

It is understood that Zimplats agreed to process other producers PGMs materials once they complete the construction of their additional smelters and refurbishment BMR.

The producers have since signed commitment letters with Zimplats to regularise the arrangement and the position was also agreed with Government

Zimplats capital projects are expected to be completed between this year and 2028 and are part of the miner's US$1,8 billion expansion plan, which includes the development and upgrade of two new mines.

Source - The Herald