THE construction of the $800 million Thermal Power Plant at Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL) in Sinazongwe, has reached an advanced stage with 80 per cent of the works already done.
So far, $270 million has used for construction of phase-one of the project to which would generate 300 Megawatts (MW) of power to feed into national grid for distribution by Zesco.
The thermal plant, once completed in phase-two, would generate a total of 600 MW thereby significantly mitigating the on-going national load shedding.
The project, which has created 1,800 jobs, the majority being Zambians, was a joint venture between Government and Nava Bharat of Singapore Pte Limited operating MCL.
MCL chief executive officer Venkat Shankar said the thermal power plant would not be dependent on rain-water and would generate much needed national electricity.
Mr Shankar told journalists at the construction site on Monday that the plant would use a low grade coal from the mine to generate power to be distributed by Zesco.
Phase-one of the project which would generate 300 MW, was expected to be completed before end of this year to be commissioned by President Edgar Lungu.
“We have got almost all the equipments required for construction of this project, we have engineers and other skilled specialists,” he said.
The project was being undertaken by the main contractor, by SEPCO, a Chinese construction and engineering company that designs and builds power generation and transmission infrastructure.
Mr Shankar said the boilers at the plant had been completed and the transmission of power was expected to commence soon.
Mine site manager Ramesh Gadde said, once completed, the thermal plant would also have the capacity to generate up to 1,000 MW.
Earlier when he toured the plant, Southern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu said the project was significant in lessening the load shedding.
“This plant would be part of the major solution towards addressing the deficit of power we are experiencing and this is more of a long term project,” he said.
He said Government was supporting the project because it was environmentally-friendly and would help in generating power annually.
President Edgar Lungu, recently visited the Kariba Dam in Siavonga to assess the extent of low water levels triggering the load shedding at the power generating plant.