President Joyce Banda has hailed the energy deals that her government has sealed with Chinese companies, saying they will facilitate industrial revolution, which is needed for social economic development in Malawi.
During her first visit to the People’s Republic of China as Malawi’s Head of State, President Banda has also urged Chinese captains of industry to invest in areas that her government has prioritized to spearhead economic growth and wealth creation.
“I am extremely excited at the prospect of upgrading and construction of new power transmission lines as the project would create jobs for the locals besides, and crucially, alleviating the challenge of power
outages, which is critical for industrial development,” remarked President Banda after witnessing the signing of the multi-million deals on Monday in Beijing, China.
Transmission line projects
First to be signed was a Contract Agreement between the Malawi Government and TBEA Company to construct additional and upgrade power transmission lines in Malawi to deal with problems of a saturated power transmission system.
According to Malawi’s Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola, who signed the contract on behalf of the Malawi Government, after a survey of the existing transmission network, TBEA had proposed three possible
upgrades in the following descending order of priority—Phombeya-Salima-Nkhotakota-Chatoloma, 220 kV transmission project (US$222 million); Nkhota-Kota-Chintheche-Luwinga-Bwengu, 220kV transmission project ($139.9 million); and Lilongwe- Mchinji-Chipata 330 kV transmission line ($85million).
The agreement signed in Beijing is for the initial phase of Phombeya-Salima-Nkhota-Kota-Chatoloma transmission line.
This line will start at Phombeya in order to facilitate evacuation of the power from both the prospective Kammwamba Coal-fired plant and the Malawi-Mozambique interconnector.
The line has also been deliberately taken to Kasungu (Chatoloma) cognizant of the existence of confirmed mining prospects [limestone for cement, niobium] and other mineral prospects [gold] in the area of T/A Wimbe, according to the Minister.
“We have also approved plans by two Independent Power producers to produce power at Chipoka (120 MW by Intra-Energy) and along Bua river (40 MW by HE Power). These projects will also need to evacuate their
power into the same line. This project and the Coal fired project must thus be treated as compliments—one produces the power and the other evacuates.
“The current Nkhotakota-Bwengu line steps down from 132kV to 66kV at Chintheche to Mzuzu. It steps down further to 33kV between Luwinga and Bwengu and thus can’t evacuate power to the North,” said Matola.
A Contract Agreement to design and construct a coal-fired power plant (Thermal Plant) at Kammwamba in Neno was the second deal to be signed with the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC).
According to Matola, the plant will use about 400,000 tonnes of coal annually from Moatize in Mozambique. The coal will be transported by rail being currently constructed by VALE and a spur from the main railway line to the power plant has been included in the railway design.
“CGGC will also construct a transmission line from the plant to Phombeya sub-station, where the Malawi Mozambique interconnector is also expected to land,” he disclosed.
Matola said the total contract amount would be US$667.233 million. The construction exercise would take 24months.
“When this project materializes, Malawi stands to more than double its power output and allow for exportation of power, expansion of rural electrification and extraction of some minerals that have been stranded for lack of power. The project is on schedule and expected to come on-stream by December 2013,” said Matola.
President Banda also hosted in audience top-officials from ZXYong Investment and Hainan International Resource Group who paid a courtesy call on her. They are explore mining prospects of Heavy Metal sands in Makanjira area in Mangochi.
The delegation, led by Lee Lihyjon, has undertaking to invest 600 to 800 million kwacha, as initial capital for the project which is expected to employ as many as 300 locals.
In giving back to the communities around the project, the investor, as part of social responsibility, will establish training centres, clinics and other social amenities. The mining exercise will start as soon as test results of the samples have been released.
In their meeting, the delegation urged the government of Malawi to ensure security around the project and improve on road infrastructure and electricity availability.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :