Maamba Collieries power generation back to 100% capacity

THE 300-megawatt Maamba Collieries Limited coal-fired power plant has resumed the operations to full capacity of power generation.

In the statement made available through Langmead and Baker Communications managing director Gillian Langmead, the company was supplying the full contracted power to Zesco.

The company said it was now supplying 25 per cent of the nation’s power, based on the estimated 1,080 MW of power currently being distributed in Zambia.

Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL) is the nation’s largest independent power producer and Zambia’s largest coal mine with coal-fired Thermal Power Plant producing 300MW in Sinazongwe District, Southern Province.

“We are happy to inform that both 150 MW power units at Maamba Collieries are now running at their full capacity, thanks to sustained efforts by the management with the equipment suppliers, despite being hampered by lack of funds,” said MCL chief executive officer Rear Admiral Venkat Shankar.

While referring to the recent shutdowns reported in the media, Shankar said the modern, eco-friendly coal-fired power plant was complex due to the nature of its operatios and needed periodic robust maintenance and specialised technical support.

He said the high cost of maintenance could not be ignored.

Shankar added that MCL had been facing challenges on maintenance due to shortfall of funds.

Shankar said the recent tariff revision augurs well for the energy industry in Zambia as it would allow Zesco to make timely payments to its power suppliers like Maamba Collieries, which would ensure proactive maintenance of the power plant and improve availability of electricity.

“The present shortage of rainfall in the country has reduced the power generation capacity from Zesco hydro plants drastically, and energy producers like Maamba Collieries, which are not dependent on rainfall, play a key role in managing energy deficit using resources available in Zambia without recourse to imports. Meanwhile, Maamba Collieries will be working with Zesco to ensure schedules for mandatory major overhauls are adjusted as far as possible to accommodate Zesco’s requirement of power and to minimise disruption of the nation’s energy supply,” Shankar said.

“While the last few months have been very challenging for Maamba Collieries due to shortfall in funds, we will strive to provide uninterrupted power to Zesco, which will reduce the effects of the current electricity deficit. MCL supplying full output capacity, barring scheduled maintenance breaks, can be a reality in the coming months with Zesco meeting its payment obligations to MCL in full on the back of additional revenue from the tariff revision and the continued support of Government.”

Last November, finance minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu and energy minister Matthew Nkhuwa inspected the Maamba Collieries plant to get a better understanding of the operations of the thermal power plant and the challenges faced by the company.

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