Thermal Power Plant Construction at Maamba Collieries Limited
Thermal Power Plant Construction at Maamba Collieries Limited

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.

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57 COMMENTS

    • That is not true baba! Why do you want to lie all the time? This project was started in MMD days and it was part of the diversification plan. It was delayed by Government then over the MOUs on powerbuy-back and other issues.

      When are you going to learn to tell the truth? Singapore is not dominated by Indians surely you can’t even do some basic research about who Singaporeans are? You are so obsessed with demonizing your country simply because its not you or your tribes-mate who is in power. Shame on you.

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    • They have done 80% works and only used 1/4 of the budget. credibility of story is lost right there. Govt knew of the impending power deficit 4 months ago, or at least they were told by HH and did nothing. This is what is vexing!

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  1. Coal Environmentally friendly???? Where do these ministers get their education, the burning of coal to produce steam in the boilers produces hudge amoumts of pollution. don’t open your mouth you will look foolish just tour the place

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    • He is hoping no one notices this aspect because it is a threat to the health and life of the inhabitants. In our Valley, investors don’t care about human life!

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    • This will be a grand contribution to global warming!

      While others are trying to get rid of those ancient ways of producing power, Zambia is proud to be putting up a new and destructive stinker.

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  2. That’s a good idea to have pretty of power stations but thermal energy is very unaffordable on the part of Zesco.Let us explore other options of generating electricity.Go to Luapula province we have a lot of water bodies but we are failing to generate hydro electricity.Is it because Zesco employ wrong characters or what?

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    • Ba kalulu, you are suggesting other forms of energy and still referring to the abundance of water in Luapula, you are not maikng sense mune. Thermal energy is very much reliable and countries like Kenya rely on that and now perfecting it. This just the right step taken by the Zesco.

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    • The observer. It is not true that Kenya relies on thermal energy. Kenya relies on hydropower like Zambia but has recently improved its energy mix by tapping into its vast resource of GEOTHERMAL ENERGY. Zambia has abundant coal reserves for the production of thermal energy. Coal is used to boil water to produce steam to run steam engines which in turn run generators to produce electricity. Thus there is still the issue of water even in a thermal power station but not as mush water as in hydropower.

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  3. THIEVES AT IT AGAIN, THEY WANT TO GET THE BENEFITS THAT BE. AS LONG AS THIS COUNTRY WILL HAVE BEMBAS IN THE FOREFRONT OF DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMMES THERE IS NOTHING GOOD THAT WILL COME OUT OF ZAMBIA. THE WHOLE CIVIL SERVICE HAS NO QUALIFIED PERSONNEL BECAUSE ALL THE OTHER INTELLGENT TRIBES WERE THROWN OUT. WE ARE SAYING ALMOST ALL THE MINISTRIES ARE POORLY PERFORMING NOW BECAUSE OF THE SAME PUTTING BEMBAS IN THE RESPONSIBLE PSITIONS. fOR INSTANCE, WHEN THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE WAS HEADED BY EITHER LOZIS OR TONGAS IT WAS PERFORMING WONDERFULLY, LOOK AT ITS PERFORMANCE RIGHT NOW. LOOK AT THE WAY THE MINES ARE PERFORMING, VERY WELL, IF YOU WERE TO GO AND LOOK AS WHO ARE THERE AS ZAMBIANS IT IS MAINLY LOZIS AND TONGAS WH HAVE BEEN THROWN OUT FROM GOVERNMENT, EVEN BANKS THEMSELVES, AR DOING FI

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  4. A good project; just need to correct some parts to the story; Thermal power does depend on water, a lot of water but in a different way (steam power) and coal powered plants are the most polluting ways to generate electricity and not environmentally friendly as the story claims, however, we need the power so all is good

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    • But this is maintenance intensives. If relax on PMs, we may end up like Eskom in South Africa. I hope we shall stay alert all the time. In any case life is not for the lazy ones.

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    • But this is maintenance intensive. If relax on PMs, we may end up like Eskom in South Africa. I hope we shall stay alert all the time. In any case life is not for the lazy ones.

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    • Zambia has potential for electricity from GEOTHERMAL ENERGY at the hotsprings at Lake Tanganyika and Chinyunyu – I was shocked to here this at a GEOTHERMAL station in Kenya some years ago!

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  5. This comment was posted on Zambia Watch Dog story headlined: “TONGA MEETING UNNECESSARY, LUNGU USING IT TO DIVIDE ZAMBIANS”

    ZWD you are fake. At first you said Lungu is doing nothing to discipline Chama. Now Lungu has found time from his busy schedule to deal with the Chama issues and you are now saying it is a ploy to divide Bembas and Tongas?
    You chaps are funny and I now clearly see that you are sponsored by a known opposition party.
    Lungu is a qualified lawyer and he will not jump onto your insinuations. He takes his time to hear both sides before taking decisive decisions. THAT IS HOW A GOOD LEADER SHOULD OPERATE.
    I have seen that now you are avoiding publishing my comments but I will find other means of having them seen by true loving Zambians and not tribalists.

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    • Ok, will wait until he is ready. He better have a good defence for his SG Chama.

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  6. No one has thought about ACID RAIN which will be as a result of carbon dioxide dissolving in rain clouds and falling onto farmland in Southern Province and destroying crops. People are not being scientific on global impacts of this project onto the environment.

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  7. “MCL CEO Venkat Shankar said the thermal power plant would not be dependent on rain-water …..generate much needed national electricity.”

    These people must assume all their audience is dull …how can a thermal plant be dependent on rainwater?

    “SP Minster said Government was supporting the project because it was environmentally-friendly and would help in generating power annually.”

    Let’s not cheat people burning coal in a furnace is not environmentally friendly and its not sustainable as you are taking out from the ground & not replenishing it…simply state that we have a power deficit and we are going to explore all avenues available & in the future excess power will be a great source for forex when exported to neighbouring countries.

    Stop this laziness and research!!

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    • Take it easy on the minister, he might not be educated in that sphere! He may have a degree in theology! Ninshi mwabelafi bar fee color?

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    • Low grade coal is the WORST polluting fuel!

      Environmentally friendly -rubbish!

      This is obsolete technology that has been scrapped in most other countries.

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  8. this is the only way we see progress in the power sector through private investment…. this project has been years in the planning ….still wondering where that euro bond is zesco as this had no financial input for from GRZ

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  9. Zambian engineers are not respected hence this chaos.Govt pay engineers peanuts compared to accountants.No country will develop without Engineers and IT specialists.The pipo should be highly paid if we want Zambia to develop.Where we are going forget about having industries in Zambia if engineers are not respected. Zesco is full of cadres and what do u expect?stealing .Zambians please wake up n start working hard.Don’t always dream of stealing and building houses,lodges and flats. Pipo should work in govt.Most govt workers are on whats up or Facebook.U wonder the time they work.We in private sectors are suffering to make money for them.Govt needs gud system

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  10. in Zambia we will always have something to something to complain about. Always pessimistic.

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  11. Good news that this thermal Plant is finally approaching completion. Our Country needs every watt it can generate.

    But as highlighted by a number of bloggers, lets be truthful and clearer in our reporting. Unlike politics, engineering is an exact science. The fact that we are desperate for energy should not make us start cheating ourselves by under-playing pollution.

    Solution regarding pollution is:- Just as all modern vehicles are fitted with a catalytic converter in their exhaust pipers to ‘clean’ the exhaust air, and are required to be checked for compliance at regular intervals, it is important for Environmental Council of Zambia to ensure the same is in force at this Thermal Plant. I am sure this was an integral part of the Plant design. Would be good PR to tell the…

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    • Cont’d .. tell the local community and general public and not wait till they react. And react they will, when they see a strange occurrence or new disease with their crops in their fields, even if it has nothing to do with the new Plant.

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    • This is about the most sensible post from you Cactus, unlike these other dullards who just like criticising whilst warming their smelly behinds in government offices wasting man hours!

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  12. Is that the entire power plant? Seems like some cooling plant!!! That cant cost $800m???

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  13. At least this story has generated decent debate. I have even learnt how this type of power source works. Why cant we live like this? Always politics in which there no benefits for non cadres.

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  14. We should also explore solar power. Individual owners can produce enough and sell to ZESCO via the national grid. It works well in the UK and many Zambians can make good money for themselves and there will be no cry for electricity and load shedding. This is where we need the electric engineers to think.

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  15. I think we have low levels of Education with some of our ministers in Zambia,Thermal energy cannot be said to be environmentally friendly let alone hydro,wind and solar energy.

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    • Although thermal power stations produce GHG (greenhouse gas) and are being used unabated in the USA, China, India and South Africa, among others, it is still desirable to have some thermal power stations generating electricity in Zambia’s energy mix to combat the effect of drought which it experiences from time to time. According to the International Energy Agency it is clear that the countries that have produced the highest amount of energy-related Carbon Dioxide from 1890 to 2014 are the USA and the Western World to sustain their industrialization. The countries that will produce the highest number of energy-related Carbon Dioxide in the projected period of 2015 to 2040 are China, the USA and India. Africa’s contribution and Zambia in particular is negligible.

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  16. preparing to secede … South Zambia will be independent, productive and self-reliant. We are producers in south not consumers like others.

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    • @Kandolo, there is more strength in unity. The problem with some Africans is that it so hard to see what is happening in the world around us! There is more cohesion than there is division and where division occur it hardly happens peacefully! The Europeans are uniting and getting stronger that is when you want to divide yourselves and create micro-countries or micro-nations! Some provinces you think today to be resource poor may even be richer than Southern except the development model is still tied to colonial set ups and any attempts to unlock their potentials attracts cries of favoritism,regionalism etc! Ba Kandolo who ever thought NW Province would look after the whole country in terms of mining?I can tell you there is no poor province in Zambia but only undeveloped ones!!

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  17. This MMD project was thoughtfully implemented and if only PF liers knew about power shortage would not have delayed completing it.
    Instead are constructing stadium in Mongu and opening distericts without budgets.
    Thats what visionless entails.

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  18. THIS IS AN MMD PROJECT WHICH WAS PLANNED BY LATE MWANAWASA AND MAGANDE. THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR THE COUNTRY. SOUTHERN POWER! MORE POWER IN SOUTHERN POWER!

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    • It is technocrats who plan these projects. The Itezhitezhi power station was planned by KK but has been implemeted by PF. The MMD talked about it but did not implement it. Even the heightening of the Itezhitezhi dam is there on the drawing board to store more water and was done in KK’s time. Perhaps the present drought could be a wake up call to implement this project.

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  19. I would have been a lot more excited if these PF kaponyas had announced the near completion of some swank solar power plant or wind power or anything other than the mass production of a whole lot of soot.

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  20. Nyau. The wind speeds in Zambia are low about 2.5m/s and not strong enough to generate electricity. They are only suitable for water pumping. Wind speeds are high in coastal areas.

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    • Yes ba Nyau when this article appeared there were comments from Loyd which are valid. “Gentlemen, please do more research before sending out such misleading information. The wind speeds in Zambia range from 2.5 -5m/s which is not sufficient to sustainably run a wind turbine. The wind speeds are however sufficient for water pumping. Detailed speeds have not been mapped for Zambia. The places you have talked about in Europe and USA have a lot of wind.”

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    • ba Engineer,
      in the US, wind turbine manufactures like Siemens, tout innovative and efficient wind turbines and they give numbers like,, 7 miles per hour of wind speed to start a turbine and an average of 10-12 miles per hour for at least 6 hours per day to power a home which needs on average 800-1,000 kilowatt-hours per month. So are you saying such numbers are not sustainable in Zambia?

      I’m no engineer myself, by the way. So mine is only a question not a selling point.

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    • 7miles per hour is 3.1m/s, 10miles per hour is 4.4m/s and12miles per hour is 5.3m/s and I had said earlier that the average wind speed in Zambia is 2.5m/s. These speeds are all above the average wind speed of 2.5 m/s. Before importing these wind turbines it would be prudent to ascertain whether these speeds are actually available in Zambia.

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  21. Previous comments here about pollution are ill-informed, yes it may be a fossil plant that pollutes, but one plant in Zambia is not going to affect the Global C02 landscape when China is building 70GW of power plants every year of which the majority are coal fired plants along with the countless plants in europe. This is but a blip. No developed nation survives without fossil powered plants.

    We are slowly joining the rest of the world, hydro plants for all their merits have vices as well, as they destroy the surrounding environments they inhabit. We should praise the fact that we have something that doesn’t depend on natures whim for reliable energy and really scrutinize the government for not having built these proposed plants ten years ago.

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    • Hydropower is classified as picohydro less than 5 KW, microhydro between 5KW and 100KW, minihydro between 100KW and 1000KW (1MW), small hydro between 1MW and 10MW and large hydro greater than 10MW. The debate is on large hydro with large dams on whether it should be considered renewable because it generally floods significant areas of land, radically change the pattern of river flows, and can displace entire communities and the submerged rotting vegetation if not removed prior to flooding produces methane. The proposed Batoka Dam with an installed capacity of 1600 MW is a run-of-the-river scheme with no large reservoir and is renewable. Mind you the debate on large hydro is inconclusive as some scientists claim that the methane produced by rotting vegetation is insignificant.

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  22. The idea was brilliant and no one should be sad about this

    …Zesco is not talking about this as a rescue…..they are waiting for rains….

    ..The completion funds are hanging in a balance…they need Zesco to commit that they will pay Maamba once in operation so that the loan has a financial commitment….

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  23. It’s a fact that you can use coal without pollution. The problem is that even non experts comment.

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    • Tell us how you can burn charcoal or coal without producing carbon dioxide which is the main pollutant as far as producing the green house effect is concerned. The little chemistry I have tells me that it is the carbon in the coal that combines with the oxygen in the air to produce carbon dioxide.

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  24. Those who have little or knowledge on the subject, kindly shut up will you?

    There are enough politics from HH which you can comment on without exposing your ignorance, atase!
    Leave the knowledgeable to discuss electricity issues.

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  25. yeppp, its the truth, though he lied about the 1000 mw.
    before the coal is ignited, therewill be a mixing of limestone,with coal, chemically treated water will be used in th mixing,this water will be coming from the deminising tanks.
    water will also be helping in supresing coal dust.
    th mixture wil then be heated in th enclosed funaces.smoke and ash will then be durectd to th ESPs for separation.ashes will be pushed down while purified smoke wil be sucked and pushed to the chimney. the whole system will be computerisd. 99.1%of th smoke released to the atmosphere will be none harmful to the environment nor the public.

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  26. Comment:80% Of The Project Is Done.Liar That Is Just A Cooling System .We Ned To C .Furnace,boilor ,generation Station Then We Can Agree That 80% Is Done.Stop Misleading The Nation.

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