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Dangote Industries Zambia has announced it will construct and operate a coal thermal power plant to generate 30MW of electricity to meet the demand of a cement plant it plans to build on the Copperbelt
The firm plans to invest in the cement plant in Masaiti, which will include the construction of a power plant and other associated facilities, at a cost of US$450mn. The investment will cover the construction of a cement plant complex and other auxiliary and support infrastructure such as schools, housing units, a clubhouse, shops and a water treatment plant.
The coal thermal plant will provide cheap power for the cement factory, according to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
“The proposed cement factory shall enjoy quality and more reliable electric power supply. Consequently, the cost of production will be lowered due to the use of cheaper and cleaner source of energy. This will in turn lower the cost of the cement in the country,” the report said.
The company has observed that the cement plant will require substantial stable electricity for its operations. The current situation in Zambia means that electrical energy demand has reached a point where demand is greater than supply.
The power plant will be situated within the area that Dangote has already secured for the cement complex, which means the resettlement action plan and biophysical considerations remain unchanged by the power plant.
The power plant will be designed to operate on coal at a federate of 15 tonnes per hour and the steam generator to be used employs fluidised bed combustion technology.
The fluidised bed combustion is a flexible method of generating electricity, allowing the use of abandoned coal waste that previously would not be used due to its poor quality.
Likely impacts on air quality, water, soil and land arising from the operations of the power plant will be mitigated through use of electrostatic precipitators and bag filters to cut down dust to acceptable national standards.
The EIS stated further that the disturbed areas around the mining site will be progressively rehabilitated to re-establish biodiversity in the district.
The project will create employment opportunities for the locals when fully operational and reduce poverty levels in the area. It will also increase support to Masaiti District Council through levy and rates that will engender an improvement in service delivery for the people and standards of living for the community.