The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has said the mining industry requires 80% of power in the national grid in order to meet the needs of the mining industry by 2025
Speaking at the Chamber of Mines Annual Conference today in Victoria Fall, ZESA Managing Director Engineer Howard Choga said for the past 60 years Zimbabwe has developed 2000 megawatts and expects to have added 2 300 megawatts by 2025 in order to meet national demand.
“We expect that by end of 2025 we would have added 2 300 megawatts to the grid. For the past 60 years we have developed to 2000 megawatts and now in the next three years we have a demand of 2 300 megawatts.
“Over 80% of the 2300 megawatts is actually mining projects . So miners are demanding over 2000 megawatts of this 2300 megawatts and this is required by end of 2025 .
“When you look at the basement requirement you will be able to tell that we are in trouble. We have to support this power requirement on the background of very little capital”, he said.
Engineer Choga added that the shortage of electricity in Zimbabwe is being spearheaded by climate change and discontinuation of supplies from Mozambique and Zambia.
“Climate change is affecting Kariba, Hwange it is basically the age of the equipment. When we look at our imports, it’s availability of funds . We have had a discontinuation of our supplies from Mozambique and Zambia because we failed to pay.
“We failed to pay because we are structured in such a way that our exporters put their money as they pay their bills into Ecobank and Ecobank is then responsible for our import bills . This money is not enough to cover the imports to the extend that after accumulated bills , imports were then discontinued on the 18th of March.
“So we are sitting with potential to get another 300 megawatts but we don’t have access to it because we can not pay for it. It’s something that as a country we need a discussion on that if we are to maintain our fairness on the path to growth”, he added.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing load shedding, with power cuts lasting up to 18 hours a day in some areas. This has had significant impact on the mining industry, with some mines forced to reduce production.