Five major global investors are vying to partner listed resources group RioZim Limited for its apparently lucrative multi-billion Sengwa thermal power project, management has said.
Interest in the project, estimated to cost $1,2 billion in the first of four phases, comes after Government relaxed indigenisation laws as part of a broader pro-business new political dispensation.
RioZim chief executive officer Bheki Nkomo said there was increased investor appetite for the project and the mining concern was currently engaged in discussions with potential investors.
“As a result of recent political developments, an improved indigenisation framework and tax incentives offered by the new administration for energy projects, we are pleased to note that investor appetite for the Sengwa Power project has improved
“RioZim is currently engaged in discussions with various regional off-takers who are part of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) for the purposes of concluding Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs).
“There are about four or five investors interested in the project and we are happy about it,” said Nkomo.
The Sengwa power project will result in the construction of a mine to mouth ultra-super critical thermal power station, with maximum efficiency and the lowest emissions in phases of 700 megawatts up to a total of 2 800 megawatts.
The first phase of the project is expected to cost $1,2 billion dollars. The phase includes setting up of two 350 megawatt generators, evacuation power lines, a water pipeline, housing and community village infrastructure as well as coal mine set up.
Sengwa has an estimated 1,34 billion tonnes of coal and RioZim wants to exploit the resource with a power generation project that is expected to help ease electricity challenges in the country.
The mining firm started actively pursuing the project in 2014, but does not have enough financial muscle to take it off. There has however been renewed interest from investors and Nkomo said the prospects were bright for the project.
Indications are that the bankable feasibility studies for the project were completed while long term power generation and transmission licenses had been secured.
Additionally, Nkomo said extensive exploration work had been completed at a huge cost which delineated a resource of circa 1,3 billion tonnes of coal and is capable of supporting a thermal power station of up to 10 000 megawatts for the next 40 years.