$295m coal-fired plant ready April

Nkula power plant: The country's energy needs are growing
Nkula power plant: The country’s energy needs are growing

Construction of the 300 megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant worth $295 million at Kammwamba in Neno has gathered pace and it is expected that by April, the plant would have started producing power, Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola has said.

Malawi has coal reserves estimated at 22 billion tonnes, according to the government, mainly located in the northern and southern parts of the country, but this plant will use coal from Tete in Mozambique.

Matola told Business News on Monday said the plant will help the country to generate more power to meet its energy demand, particularly in the mining sector.

“Currently, we are producing 351 megawatts, but the mining sector requires 300 megawatts for it to function without hitches. We are talking about mines such as the one at Kayelekera, Njeleza and there are high prospects of bauxite mining in Mulanje as well as limestone in Kasungu,” he said.

Matola said in Mangochi as well, there are heavy sands and cement and if Malawi produces enough energy then no investor will complain of lack of energy.

“As a country, we have lost a lot because most miners say that our energy is not enough, hence take our minerals outside the country unproccesed,” he said.

Matola said the country’s energy needs are growing by the day, hence the need for government to intensify looking for energy in other areas.

“Exim Bank of China will fund this project and we have already sent the plans to them. With the cordial relationship that we have with this bank, we do not expect any problems,” he said.

Matola said the country’s demand for electricity in the country is rising to the extent that the manufacturing and processing industry needs 400MW per day.

“As a government we are serious in solving the energy problems in the country because this will curb deforestation. Imagine the Green Belt Initiative requires 200 megawatts, the service sector 500 megawatts and it is expected that by 2020 domestic demand will be at 950 megawatts,” he said.

Matola said Malawi has signed the interconnection contract with Mozambique as one way of ending power problems.

“Malawi is one of the only two countries not connected to the Southern African Power Pool and now we will be able to sell power to Mozambique as well as Zambia.

“In Zambia, there is a growing demand for power due to the increase in copper mining and we have to reposition ourselves in readiness for these developments,” he said.

Malawi generates most of its electricity from hydro sources and only seven percent of Malawians have access to electricity, while the remaining 93 percent depend on firewood and charcoal for energy requirements, according to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).

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  1. Some industries use coal for their production. The coal is mined in the North where there are proven huge reserves. Why did the author of this article not question the Minister on the rationality of constructing it in the South with the aim of providing market to Mozambican coal and not our own. I see no economic sense in this. Perhaps it is politically right in an election year since the South has the numbers. Which April are we talking about. How long does it take to construct a coal power plant.

  2. I appreciate Hon Matola’s sentiments but he must remember that the same sentiments were expressed by Hon Malunga when he was Minister in the DPP when the Chinese company did a feasibility study and found the project to be feasible hence willingness to construct a thermo powered power station in Mwanza because it would use quality coal from Mocambique, cheaper transport by utilizing the Vale railway line and easier to connect to the Escom Grid. Compared to Mchenga Coal which is not of high grade and transportation of the coal from Rumphi to Mwanza by road this was the best option. The Chinese are also considering in building two more coal fired power stations in the Central Region and Northern Region – ofcourse with government collaboration! These are purely business investments where the result should be to make profits, its not like Nsanje Inland Port or Admarc where the government does not care if it is making money or not! Government should own these projects and not to personalize the projects. It is wrong to say President Joyce Banda will construct a Thermo Electric Power Plant in Mwanza rather it should be the Malawi Government and Chinese Investors will construct a Coal Electricity Power Station!

    1. Why does our own Press Corporation fail to invest in such kind of projects? Yet there are so many opportunities of similar scale in tourism, mining and agri processing ? Something really wrong at press corporation

  3. Which is which ? The article says the plant will be ready April this and the ther is a quote that Exim Bank of China will fund this project ? I thought if anything it could have read Exim Bank is funding this project !

  4. The project is a good initiative. But why get coal from Mozambique when we have coal within the Malawi? We are a country that is already suffering a lot from huge balance of payments deficits, yet policy makers are making a decision to import coal which will be an added burden to forex yochita kukokelayi. Why not explore getting coal from within the country? Our policy makers, ayayayay…

  5. The best coal type of high grade is Anthracite and Ngana coal fields in Karonga are known to have them in large quantities.I suggest a new coal-powered plant should be constructed in Karonga by either private investors or government.I understand Intra- energy wants to construct a coal-powered plant at Salima with coal supplied from Karonga.Is thare any logic in doing this? Is it because there is some prospective heavy mineral sands mining at Salima?The Karonga-Chitipa belt is an area that potentially can be a mineral and industrial powerhouse of the country that would contribute a lot to the country’s GDP and GNP, but having a strong energy establishment in that belt is the only way to realize such a potential.

    Malawi needs energy sources in all parts of the country.It doesn’t make sense having the supply of electricity from one part of the country and yet there are some parts that can liberate the country from intermittent blackouts and also accelerate Malawi’s industrialization.If a district has a resource worth developing then allow that district to have a natural transformation.Malawi should transition from being rural to urban through rural electrification and rural industrialization. This will dramatically shoot the country’s GDP per capita to middle or high income levels.

  6. THE TUMBUKAS SHOULD STOP BLAMING THE CHEWAS FOR NOT INVESTING IN THE NORTH, “WHO CAN GO BUILD A HOUSE IN ANOTHER MAN’S VILLAGE? NO ONE COZ U INVEST IN UR OWN BACKYARD. SO THE TUMBUKAS SUD NOW STAND TOGATHER GO PRIVATE AND INVEST HEAVILY IN THEIR LAND ESPECIALLY THE MINING SECTOR THEN WE WILL SEE WHAT THE CHEWAS WILL SAY BOUT THAT. OFCOURSE CHEWAS ARE THREATEN BOUT THE NORTHERNERS “FACT”

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