Lubumbashi (Bloomberg) – Gécamines, Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned copper miner, will build a 500-megawatt coal-fired plant to help mining companies address electricity shortages, Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Kalej Nkand said.
Gécamines, based in the southern town of Lubumbashi, is undertaking a feasibility study for the 500 million euro ($648 million) thermal power plant, which will use coal from Luena in Katanga province, Nkand said.
“In 36 months we could have the center operational,” he said in an interview at the IPAD mining and infrastructure conference in Lubumbashi yesterday. The company will make the power available to miners in Katanga, he said.
Mining companies in the southern province, where deposits have some of the world’s richest grades of copper and cobalt, have been forced to buy power from neighboring Zambia and use generators to meet production targets.
Glencore International Plc’s Katanga Mining Ltd. is investing around $300 million to rehabilitate power lines and a hydroelectric plant that will guarantee about 450 megawatts of power for their projects by 2016. Some of the power will also go to Glencore’s Mutanda and Kansuki copper and cobalt projects, which will reimburse part of Katanga’s costs..
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s Tenke project, the largest copper producer in the country, needs another 200 megawatts of power to eventually increase production to more than 400,000 metric tons of the metal a year, André Kapanga, Tenke’s head of external relations, told the conference…. (Read more in Mining News Magazine N°069 of December 2012)