By Alois Vinga
MINES and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando on Thursday said government was planning to work towards generating energy by taking advantage of thermal coal which has the potential to generate over 2 400 megawatts by 2023.
Speaking at the second quarter state of the economy business breakfast forum, Chitando expressed optimism over the new plans saying the country will definitely be positioned as an electricity exporter.
“Thermal coal will be used to generate electricity as we intend to tap into the mineral’s potential. Currently, Zimbabwe requires about 1 900 megawatts of electricity per day and the intervention I am talking about will see the country generating 2 400 megawatts and I can safely say that Zimbabwe will be a net exporter of electricity by 2024,” he said.
He said the potential in thermal coal, coupled with other projects in the Binga area, will achieve self- sufficiency for the country’s electricity needs.
The senior government official said the intervention is part and parcel of the ambitious plan to transform the country’s mining sector into a US$12 billion industry in the next four years with hopes to reap benefits in terms of increased employment creation, tax revenue generation, among other benefits.
“By-products generated from the thermal coal production like gas will be used in place of diesel currently being used for flame stabilisation by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.
“The point I am raising is that we are moving on a journey, income per capita for Zimbabweans has improved through economic growth. So these targets are achievable,” said Chitando.
In terms of value addition, the minister said government is currently working on specific mineral policies and plans are currently underway to set up a Platinum and Precious Metals refinery which will establish the country as the first to have such a facility.
“A diamond management centre which will be tasked to polish and evaluate the worth of minerals among other functions will be set up on top of the signing of an agreement to set up a lithium processing plant,” he added.