Mchenga Coal Mine, a subsidiary of Coal Products Limited, has disclosed an ambitious plan to construct a coal-fired power plant at its mining site in Rumphi District using a $287 million loan from the Export Development Bank.
The plant, to be called Rukuru Power Plant, will be able to produce 100 megawatts of electricity.
Already, according to Mchenga Mine acting Manager Kelvin Alexander Chitsulo, an Environment Impact Assessment was conducted.
Chitsulo said once the plant is operational, it would be requiring 15,000 metric tonnes (mt) of coal per month.
“We are getting a loan which will soon be signed though it will take 24 months before the construction of the plant because there are some engineering-related decisions and some EIAs.
“The good thing is that the environmental assessment plan has already been done but surely the plant will significantly contribute to the minimisation of persistent blackouts in this country,” Chitsulo said.
He added that the firm will partner small-scale miners around Mchenga Coal Mine to boost supply.
He said the company plans to open up three new mines within the Livingstonia mining area.
Minister of Mining Albert Mbawala welcomed the development, saying the government will support the initiative.
“If we are talking about mining, we are talking about power. Here they are using generators, they are using diesel which is very expensive, and that is why this company has not been able to make profits. So, the coming in of the coal power plant is a welcome idea; it will add a substantive power to our grid. So, apart from them using the power, they will also be selling the power to Escom,” he said.
Malawi also has Kam’mwamba Coal Fired Power Plant which is expected to add to the national grid 300 mw and will be using about 400,000 tonnes of coal annually from Moatize in Mozambique.
Among others, the Northern Region has Kaziwiziwi, Mchenga, Kasikizi and Jalawe coal mines.