Chinese firm starts work on Gwayi coal mine, thermal power station

Chinese firm starts work on Gwayi coal mine, thermal power station

HARARE, December 9 (The Source) – China Africa Sunlight Energy has begun work on a 600 megawatt (MW) thermal power station  and coal mine at a cost of $1.3 billion on its Gwayi concessions in Matabeleland north, an official said on Monday.

The two projects are the first phase of the $2.1 billion project which would eventually include a 2,200 megawatt thermal power station, a gas extraction plant and a coal brick factory among others.

The projects are being funded by China Exim Bank, which has completed due diligence.

“They (China Exim Bank) are happy, we will be moving to the next stage which is financing and design,” the company secretary, Isaac Chihuri told delegates attending a symposium on the energy sector .

He said the company had completed exploration  work and recently and submitted a mining environmental impact assessment (EIA)  report while a power generation EIA would be submitted soon.

Chihuri said  China Nuclear Power Energy had been engaged for the project and that civil construction works on the coal thermal station would commence in June 2014 and will last for a period of  between 24 to 30 months.

“We will see our first unit being hooked to the national grid by December 2016 and the other 300MW six months later depending on the progress of the project,” he said.

The coal mine is expected to produce 300 million metric tonnes of thermal coal per annum. A coking plant  and a coal washer would also be set up to add value and to generate additional income.

The company has  signed a memorandum of understanding with the finance ministry and the water authority, Zinwa to facilitate the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani dam from which it plans to draw its water for the project.

“Without it there is no project an so we need to put money and effort to make sure the Gwayi-Shangani project is completed,” said Chihuri.

China Africa Sunlight Energy is a 50/50 joint venture between Zimbabwe’s Old Stone Investments and Shandong Taishan Sunlight of China.