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Copperbelt Energy of Zambia to Invest in Nampower Plant

Copperbelt Energy Corp., Zambia’s largest power supplier to mining companies, agreed to acquire a stake in Namibia’s planned Kudu gas-fired power station as it seeks to secure electricity supply for its clients.

“We have reached an agreement to buy a 30 percent stake in Kudu but it’s not yet signed,” CEC Chairman Hanson Sindowe said today by phone from Lusaka, without disclosing financial terms. A power-purchase accord will be completed once “a few remaining issues” are resolved, he said.

Zambia, Africa’s biggest copper producer, this month asked mining companies to cut peak power use by 10 percent to conserve supply. By investing in the $1.2 billion Kudu facility, CEC can help accelerate development of a plant that’s been delayed by state-owned Namibia Power Corp.’s focus on smaller projects.

“We have a power deficit in Zambia and we would like to take up as much power as we can get from the Kudu plant,” Sindowe said.

Namibia Power expects to sign the deal with CEC before the end of October, Nampower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said today by phone. CEC has indicated it will buy 300 megawatts of the plant’s 800-megawatt output, according to Shilamba, who confirmed talks on the power-purchase agreement are continuing.

Nampower, seeking to divest 49 percent of the project, is still looking for a further partner, he said. The company plans to build the facility to generate electricity from Namibia’s Kudu gas fields, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) off the southern town of Oranjemund. In boosting local output, the plant will help the nation curb reliance on imports.

Nampower plans to announce a winning bidder to build the plant from a shortlist of 15 companies in October. The Namibian government wants it to be connected to the grid by about 2018.

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