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RioZim courts new suitors for Sengwa



RioZim courts new suitors for Sengwa

RioZim Limited says it has put in place new financing options to attract potential investors into its 2 800 megawatt Sengwa coal power project following the withdrawal of China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) earlier this year.

China’s ICBC had planned to finance the coal-fired power plant to the tune of US$3 billion, but later withdrew after giving in to pressure from environmental lobbyists who are against funding of fossil projects that contribute to carbon emissions.

“Due to a mix of considerations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has put up various financing options to attract potential investors into the project. Stakeholders will be kept abreast of the developments of the project,” said Saleem Rashid Beebeejaun, the group’s chairman, in a statement of the financials results for 2021.

The decision by ICBC followed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s UN General Assembly address where he said China would accelerate efforts to help the world battle the climate crisis through stopping funding coal projects overseas.
He indicated that China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low carbon energy.

RioZim, with a mining portfolio that runs across gold, diamonds and nickel, is developing the project through RioEnergy, its energy subsidiary.

The Sengwa project started as a joint venture between Rio Tinto Zimbabwe Limited and RTZ Mining & Exploration Limited, in 1994.

The Sengwa coal deposit is situated in North Western Zimbabwe, 450 kilometres from Harare, with proven ore reserves in excess of 525 million tonnes.

The power station project is based on a coal resource of 1,3 billion tonnes, capable of generating up to 2 000MW of power, almost as much as Zimbabwe’s total installed capacity.

The proposed project envisages the construction of a number of smaller power plants over the next 10 years. In order to achieve this goal, RioEnergy intends to bring in technical partners to help construct the power station once funding is secured.

Zimbabwe is looking to build several coal-fired power plants at an estimated cost US$15 billion.

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ZRP Commissioner General Godwin Matanga

According to Energy and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda, the country will look at alternative means through which targeted projects and those already underway will move to completion.

Minister Soda
He added that the Government’s intention is that the power generation at Hwange be restored to capacity, which is 920 MW from the $300 million facility which was sourced from and extended by the Government of India.

In 2020, the Government launched the National Renewable Energy Policy (NREP) and the Biofuels Policy of Zimbabwe (BPZ), blueprints expected to guide investment into and production of clean energy alternatives in the country.


The Herald

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