TWO British firms have expressed interest to set up two 300-megawatt coal-powered plants on the Copperbelt and Southern Province.
One thermal power plant would be located in Ndola, while the other plant would be set up in Sinazongwe.
This follows an appeal by Government to the private sector to invest in thermal energy as the country had more than 780 million tonnes of coal awaiting investment.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said the two firms had so far expressed interest to put up 300-megawatt coal-powered plants in Ndola and Sinazongwe districts.
She named one of the firms that had expressed interest in the thermal power project as Northern Energy based in Ndola.
“The setting up of these two coal-powered plants will help the country to reduce dependency on hydro power,” Ms Mwanakatwe said.
She said the setting up of a coal plant in Ndola would help industries continue with the production of goods and services during load shedding.
Ms Mwanakatwe said Zambia had a lot of coal on the ground which was awaiting investment, and was impressed with expansion works at the Maamba Coal Plant which would soon increase its power generation.
Meanwhile, NEELKANTH Cable Zambia Limited, a new cable manufacturing company, will be commissioned in January 2016 at a cost of around US$17 million.
Neelkanth Group representative, Gopal Kedia said the firm had invested between $16 million and $17 million to establish a copper cable manufacturing company in the Copperbelt Province.
Mr Kedia said the company, once operational, would be able to compete with other local firms in producing copper electric cables using locally-mined minerals like copper.
“We have a new project we are going to start soon in the Copperbelt and we will commission it first week of January 2016.
“Our total investment will be about $16 million to $17 million,” he said in an interview in Lusaka.
Mr Kedia said the company was expected to create more than 300 job opportunities for the local people in the first phase.
The firm would engage mining companies with the view of sourcing minerals from them to manufacture copper electric cables.
“We are going to be buying copper from the mining companies to produce the copper electric cables. We have also been running a lime project in Ndola for the last three years,” he said.
Mr Kedia said the company was committed to supporting the growth of the manufacturing industry and called on Government to put in place measures to help stabilise the Kwacha.
“The Kwacha has to stabilise… if it is fluctuating by five per cent to 10 per cent in a day it is not good for the country; it is not good for the investor and not good for the industry,” Mr Kedia said.
He said it was important for the Government to develop rigid policies that would protect the local manufacturing sector in the face of economic challenges.
Mr Kedia is the general manager for MM Integrated Steel Limited, one of the leading manufacturers of galvanised iron roofing sheets, colour roofing sheets, tubes, open section, and Roto water tanks in Lusaka.