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Rio Zim on power generation drive

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MINING company RioZim plans to produce up to 1 400 megawatts of electricity using coal from its concession in the north west, chief executive Noah Matimba said on Monday.

Matimba said RioZim was talking to regional power trading firm Southern African Power Pool and big Zimbabwean electricity users about an agreement to sell them electricity.

He told a parliamentary committee that his company needed $2,1 billion to build power plants generating between 200MW and 300MW for a daily total of 1 400MW.

RioZim, a gold miner and minority shareholder in Rio Tintoa��s Murowa diamond mine, has a coal concession at Sengwa, in north western Zimbabwe that holds 1,36 billion in coal deposits.

a�?We do need a power purchase agreement in order that we can attract investors or attract those lenders that can give us debt,a�? Matimba said.

a�?We have signed an MOU with the Southern African Power Pool in the hope that we can begin to discuss a power purchase agreement with them and be able to create the necessary demand to attract investors and to attract debt if we should go that route,a�? he said.

On Monday, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) said electricity production was 801 MW, compared with peak demand of 2 200 MW, after it shut down its Hwange plant due to technical faults.

ZPC said last month it planned to build new power stations to generate 3 500 megawatts at a cost of $5 billion but did not say where the money would come from. a�� Online