India firm to build Zambia’s 120-MW Itezhi-Tezhi

A subsidiary of India’s Tata Group will construct the 120-MW Itezhi-Tezhi hydroelectric project in Zambia in partnership with government-owned Zambia Electricity Supply Corp. (ZESCO), the companies announced.

ZESCO and South African-based Tata Africa Holdings (PTY) signed a cooperation agreement January 23 to build the US$150 million power station, which is needed to meet rising power demands from Zambia’s mining sector and other industries. (HNN 1/12/07)

The plant will be located on the Kafue River, about 350 kilometers west of the capital Lusaka.

ZESCO and Tata are working on financing for the project, which will be constructed in three phases and will be commissioned in 2009, according to the statement.

“The main drivers of the power demand are the copper mines, where old mines are being recapitalized and new mines are being opened,” the companies said in a statement.

Zambia and other southern African countries are on the cusp of an energy crisis that threatens to clip industrial growth and stymie plans to deliver electricity in the region, home to some of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

Last year, ZESCO completed feasibility and technical studies for Itezhi-Tezhi. At that time, the utility was in talks with Iran’s Farab International about building Itezhi-Tezhi. In 2005, Farab signed an agreement with ZESCO to obtain 85 percent of financing for Itezhi-Tezhi.

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