Indian company plans $20m hydro plant in Serenje

INDIAN company, SAFAL, plans to build a US$20 million hydropower station in Serenje.

According to a statement made available by the Zambian Mission in India, Southern Africa Ferro Alloys Limited is carrying out feasibility studies on possibilities of setting up a hydropower generation plant at Kundalila Falls in chief Mailo’s area in Serenje.

SAFAL chairman Pankaj Jain said this when Central Province minister Sydney Mushanga paid a courtesy call on him in Goa, according to Bangwe Naviley, first secretary for press and tourism at the Zambian Mission.

“SAFAL of India plans to build a 20,000,000 US dollar hydropower station in Serenje district, Central Province. An Indian company is carrying out feasibility studies on possibilities of setting up a hydropower generation plant at Kundalila Falls in Serenje district, Central Province. The hydropower plant will be needed to power the manganese factory in chief Mailo’s area while the surplus will be for the Zesco national grid,” Jain said.

“We will wait for Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and other institutions such as the Heritage Conservation Commission of Zambia to guide so that the project is executed without altering the natural habitat and serenity.”

Jain said the hydropower project might take two years to come to fruition.

And Mushanga commended SAFAL for transforming rural areas such as Kanona in Serenje where the company had set up a world-class manganese factory.

Mushanga assured SAFAL of the Zambian government’s support in its plans to build the plant, saying President Edgar Lungu took a tough decision to make electricity tariffs cost reflective, hence benefits were now bearing fruit by more investors targeting the energy sector for stable electricity supply.

He further said the province had abundant land and natural resources, with eight months of continuous sunshine that supported the setting up of solar-powered farms.

“Central Province is attractive for any investment because it is centrally located, especially lying between Zambia’s administrative capital Lusaka and the commercial hub, Copperbelt Province,” Mushanga said.

He also said the provincial administration had secured vast land from traditional leaders for investment opportunities in mining, tourism, construction, education, transport, communications and farming where it was envisioned that there would be value addition to the crops from small-scale farmers.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s High Commissioner to India Judith Kapijimpanga said the mission in India was inspired by the positive response from the business community in Goa.

She said the recent state visit to Zambia by India’s President Shri Ram Nath Kovind had opened doors to get maximum benefits from the Asian sub continent’s economic giant.

“The Mission in India wants to fully actualise President Edgar Lungu’s desire to promote economic diplomacy that results into tangible investments,” said Ambassador Kapijimpanga.

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