Zimbabwe bets on miners to reduce its energy deficit

Zimbabwe bets on miners to reduce its energy deficit
Zimbabwe bets on miners to reduce its energy deficit

(Ecofin Agency) – By 2026, Zimbabwe’s mining sector will need 2,600 MW of electricity, while the entire country has a current production capacity of 1,400 MW. To reduce the expected deficit, the government wants to involve mining companies in electricity production.

The country’s largest consumers of electricity, mining companies exploiting ferrochrome in Zimbabwe will develop independent electricity production capacities. At least that’s what Energy Minister Edgar Moyo said this week, specifying that power plants will be built by 2026 to supply these miners.

By 2026, energy demand from the mining sector is expected to reach 2,600 MW in Zimbabwe, with the announced construction of new mines and local processing plants for different metals, including lithium and iron. However, the country’s total electricity production capacity is currently only 1,400 MW, for a maximum demand estimated at around 1,700 MW. The additional demand would therefore reinforce the existing energy deficit.

We gave ferrochrome miners two years to set up their own plants. Many of them have already started. Some will put their projects into operation before the end of the year», explained the manager to the local mediaThe Chronicle.

The option of entrusting mining companies with the production of their own electricity is not new in Africa. Faced with the difficulties of the South African national electricity supplier Eskom, the government partially liberalized the sector in 2020, allowing companies to develop renewable energy production capacities.

With this authorization, energy projects worth a total of 60 billion rand ($3.2 billion) can be implemented, according to the South African Chamber of Mines.

Elsewhere on the continent, mining companies are installing power plants on their mines, mixing energy production from fossil fuels with solar power plants. This is what allowed, for example, gold producers active in Mali to resist the wave of power cuts that shook the country at the start of 2024.

Emiliano Tossou

Also read:

03/21/2024 – Mali: why are the gold mines not affected by the electricity crisis hitting the country?

04/06/2023 – Zimbabwe to double its electricity production by 2025 to support the mining industry

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