MAAMBA Collieries Limited (MCL) has said Zambia's first 150 megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant will be commissioned in September next year.
MCL head of corporate affairs Janardhan Lavu said works on the construction of the plant are progressing well with the first 150mw planned to be commissioned in September 2014.
Initial plans are to construct the power plant with the capacity to generate 300 mw and an additional 300 megawatt during the phase two of the project.
With an investment of US$750 million, works on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) have been done.
In an interview in Lusaka, Mr Lavu said the power plant once completed would have the capacity to generate 300 mw in two phases with the first phase generating 150 mw scheduled for completion in September 2014 and another 150 mw for December 2014.
"The two loads of equipments have arrived and works are progressing well and we are confident that 2014 September should be on time to commission the first 150 megawatts and this will be done in two phases. Another 150 megawatts will be commissioned in December 2014," he said.
Mr Lavu said the transmission line contract and water pipeline had been finalised adding that the works are expected to start next month.
The construction of the thermal power plant would create considerable employment opportunities for the local people, and Mr Lavu said the jobs would be created by the contractors and sub-contractors.
"Basically we are recruiting the engineers and most of the employment will be created by our contractor and sub-contractor so we are recruiting about 85 graduate engineers," he said.
MCL has since contracted SEPCO a leading thermal power, substation and transmission line construction group from China.
SEPCO will do the EPC.
Located about 352 kilometres from Lusaka, in Zambia's Southern Province, the mine boasts of 78 million tonnes of coal reserves, enough to sustain operations for more than 90 years.