By JOHN SAKALA
Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa says government is addressing challenges in the energy and transport sector to support mining in the country.
Addressing delegates at the ongoing Mines and Money Conference in London, Mr Musukwa said various power generation projects are being implemented aimed at creating new lines of power generation to increase the capacity by 1,500 Mega Watts by the year 2020.
He said the new lines will supply to the national grid in an effort to reduce the power deficit currently being experienced.
“Oil and gas exploration is another area of potential for investment in Zambia. The rift valley where oil has been discovered in East Africa extends into Zambia, an indication that Zambia could also have oil.
Speaking during the conference, ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc (ZCCM-IH) Chief Executive Officer Mabvuto Chipata said that the company is in talks with some of its investee companies to invest in alternative energy sources, particularly solar and wind.
Mr Chipata stated that having a diversified energy mix is key for the country and ZCCM-IH’s investee companies in the mining sector.
“As you know, the mining sector consumes about 50% of Zambia’s power output. As such, we are proactively looking to explore other power sources. For instance, we are looking at plans to set-up a mini solar grid in Mapatizya, where Kariba Minerals Limited is located.
“ZCCM-IH is also considering to explore non-traditional energy sources such as coalbed methane, oil and gas,” he said.
This is according to a media statement made available by First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Embassy in United Kingdom Abigail Chaponda.
The Mines and Money now in its 17th year is Europe’s largest mining investment event attracting over 3000 delegates comprised of investors and mining companies.