Harare - RioZim Ltd, which mines gold, diamonds and coal in Zimbabwe, wants to work with state-owned power utilities in South Africa and Namibia to build a 1 400-megawatt electricity plant near its Sengwa coal fields.

The $2.1 billion thermal power plant would produce electricity for RioZim’s mines and sell the excess back to state-owned utilities such as South Africa’s Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd and Namibia Power Corporation, RioZim Chief Executive Officer Noah Matimba told lawmakers on Monday in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe all import electricity because they can’t meet domestic demand consistently. With Mozambique, they are all inter-connected through the regional Southern African Power Pool.

“The chances are that this project will be bankable with partnerships with Eskom and NamPower, utilities whose risk is acceptable to lenders,” Matimba said.

RioZim, which has already spent $20 million on the project, is open to any partnerships that will see the power plant built, Matimba said. Fuel for the facility will come from the company’s coalfields in Sengwa in northern Zimbabwe, while it will draw water from Lake Kariba, 85km to the north.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma discussed the possible partnership last month, Matimba said.

RioZim holds a minority share in Rio Tinto’s Murowa diamond mine.

Bloomberg