Diversified miner, RioZim Limited, has signed a framework agreement for phase two of the Sengwa coal fired power plant in Gokwe North, which entails expanding plant capacity to 700 megawatts (MW) from 2 800MW.
RioZim signed framework and exclusivity agreements with Power China in November 2018 and has already completed a full design and feasibility of the power station, route and design of the water supply pipeline from the Zambezi River to the plant.
Further, it has also concluded route designs for the 420kV power evacuation lines from Sengwa to Selous, near Harare, coal mining and fuel coal delivery to power station.
The gold mining giant said together with its investment partner, they were currently discussing with a financier the funding package for the first phase of the project.
“Whilst these discussions have been promising, the impact of Covid-19 has delayed the conclusion of this engagement,” RioZim said.
The outbreak of Covid-19 prompted the Government to take drastic measures to contain the viral pandemic.
Measures included a lockdown, initially for a period of 21 days, which was further extended by 14 days on expiry.
Consequently, businesses were shutdown during the lockdown except for essential services, which included RioZim.
But the supply of key raw materials in the local and foreign supply chains was seriously affected by the lockdown and closure of borders, as this affected movement of cargo.
RioZim has been trying to develop the multi-billion dollar Sengwa coal power plant project since the early 1990s, but made little progress due to lack of funding.
Similarly, the firm says it has received four independent power licences for establishment of solar power plants at Renco, Cam and Motor, Dalny Mine and Murowa Diamonds Mine.
“The company has proceeded to apply for a power purchase agreement (PPA) with ZETDC (Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company).
“Currently, the company is in the process of selecting an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm whilst discussions for funding are in progress,” RioZim said.
Zimbabwe, like the rest of the Sadc region, faces an acute shortage of power, which until recently caused power outages that lasted for up to 18 hours.
Completion of its power projects will bolster Zimbabwe power supply situation and also earn the company export revenue by supplying regional countries with power deficits.
The Zimbabwe listed miner saw gold production volumes plunge 39 percent in the interim to June 2020 largely weighed down by power outages, frequent mill breakdowns, low grade ore and delayed payments for its gold.
RioZim, which operates three gold mines namely Renco Mine in Masvingo, Cam and Motor in Kadoma and Dalny Mine in Chegutu, said output fell 39 percent to 986 kilogrammes in the half year period compared to the same period last year.
Power shortages negatively impacted mill throughput while persistent mill breakdowns and low grade ore from One Step Mine also weighed down on performance, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest gold mines said this week.
The resultant low production, coupled with rising costs conspired to condemn the group to an interim loss of $77,4 million compared to $38,2 million in 2019, which came on the back of subdued revenue of $614 million.