KONKOLA Copper Mines chief executive officer Steven Din says Zambia must have competitive energy prices to sustain growth of the mining sector.
In a paper delivered on his behalf by Howard Chilundika, KCM general manager for energy at the International Conference on ‘Geology, Mining, Mineral and Ground Water Resources in Livingstone, Din said competitive tariffs would reinforce Zambia’s competitive advantage and bring further stability and predictability in the mining fiscal regime.
Affordable and reliable power generation and transmission should be a priority if Zambia is to attain an annual production of one million plus tonnes of copper,
“Lower energy costs together with favourable global market prices for metals can help transform Zambia’s economy.”
Din said globally, the mining industry accounts for about five per cent of electricity consumption, while more than 50 per cent of Zambia’s power was consumed by the mining sector.
He said the ratio was this high because Zambia’s installed capacity for power generation is low.
He said in most copper mines, mining uses about 20 per cent of the total energy requirements; milling around 40 per cent; and smelting, converting, and refining another 40 per cent.
Din informed the conference that a cost of power study on electricity tariffs in Zambia is expected to be concluded early 2018 and should provide clarity and the basis to help stabilise power tariffs for the sector.
H commended the government for taking significant steps to ensure reliability in the power sector through the recent commissioning of two new power stations, the 120MW Itezhi-Tezhi Power Station and the 300MW Maamba Coal Fired Power Plant.
The plans to build the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro-Power Project and the 1,200MW Batoka Gorge Hydro-Power Project point to a brighter future in terms of availability of power. The introduction of renewables like Solar PV energy, which has recently seen the awarding of two 50MW Solar PV Power Plants in Zambia and the further new mandate for 500MW, will additionally help to bring down the cost of electricity tariffs in line with global market trends,