Maamba power station

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Zambia and coal
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Maamba power station is a 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Southern Province, Zambia.

Units 1 and 2 (2x150 MW) began operating in 2016. The proposed expansion - Units 3 and 4 (2x150 MW) - has been pending for years and appears stalled due to financial challenges.


The undated satellite photo below shows the plant near Maamba, Sinazongwe District, Southern Province

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The power station was proposed by Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL), the largest coal mining company in Zambia. The station is a mine-mouth and fueled by low grade coal, a by-product of mining at MCL's Maamba mine. The first 150 MW Unit was scheduled to be completed by October 2014, and the second 150 MW Unit by January 2015.[1]

In 2011, MCL appointed SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corp (China), a large supplier of power generating plants, substations, and transmission lines, for implementation of the power project. The power was to be sold to Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited.[2]

In a March 2014 investor presentation, Nava Bharat stated that the 300 MW power station would include a 50 kilometre long transmission line. The company stated that it had entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation.[3]

The 300 MW plant was planned for operation by 2016.[4] On May 1, 2016, the project was reported as 90% completed, with unit 1 planned for commissioning in June 2016 and unit 2 in July 2016.[5]

Units 1 and 2 were commissioned in July and August 2016, with commercial operation beginning shortly after.[6]

In 2020, the company noted the baseload coal plant often supplies approximately 25 percent of the nation’s power. MCL also noted it faced maintenance challenges due to funding shortfalls, but recent tariff revisions should allow ZESCO to make timely payments and should help ensure proactive maintenance at the plant and reliability.[7][8]

An August 2021 article celebrated the five year anniversary of the plant, stating that Maamba Collieries continues its commitment to supplying power to the Zambian grid. The article also highlights that the thermal power station helped to cut loadshedding by about four hours at the height of Zambia’s power crisis.[9]

Potential expansion

In 2017, MCL said it was engaging key stakeholders in the mining industry regarding the possibility of increasing the power station capacity to 600 MW "in view of the growing electricity demand in the country." The cost would be around US$850 million.[1][10]

In 2021, an article noted the following: "[W]ith additional investment, Maamba Collieries, with its Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and World Bank approved eco-friendly technology, has the potential to double its 300 MW output and help Zambia take a step closer towards sustainable energy security and significantly contribute to Zambia’s aim of being an electricity hub in the region."[11]

In December 2021, the company said that they are 'determined' to double their power generation with a 300 MW expansion. An article published in the Lusaka Times states: "The Mining firm’s operations officer David Kumar has said that the necessary infrastructure is ready to undertake this huge expansion programme in power generation." The Sinazongwe District Commissioner confirmed the government's support and appreciation for the potential expansion.[12]

Financing and ownership

Phase I: 300 MW

The estimated cost of the power project (phase I of 300 MW) was US$828 million. US$515 million in loans was provided by the Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Standard Chartered, and ABSA Bank. It was reported that US$315 million in equity funding was provided by Indian conglomerate Nava Bharat Ventures, which would own a 65 percent stake in the project, and Zambian state-owned ZCCM Investment Holdings, which would own 35 percent. ABSA Bank, Barclays, and Cresco Project Finance acted as financial advisers.[13][14]

According to a 2019 article, the Nava Bharat Ventures noted over US$900 million were invested to enable the plant to run at full capacity.[15]

In October 2021, the government was aware of the plant’s financial struggles due to non-payment of full monthly invoices by ZESCO. The government was hoping that the country’s two largest power producers could come to an agreement on how the debt could be settled.[16]

Phase II

According to an October 2021 article, "[p]lans exist to double the plant’s capacity to 600 MW, which would be a significant boost to the national grid. However, this project has been stalled due to financial challenges the company is facing."[16] According to a February 2022 investor presentation by Nava Bharat, the outstanding debt of the plant had reached US $413 million.[17] However, Maamba's operations officer has said that there has been "commitment shown by the government to clear the outstanding 400 million dollars owed by ZESCO for electricity supplied".[18]

In November 2022, a Nava Limited investor presentation stated that the Maamba power station was an "indispensable asset". However, the presentation reiterated the project's debts and read: "there are no further capital infusions or equity infusions required from the parent company". This may indicate that the expansion project was shelved.[19]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Maamba Collieries
  • Parent company: Nava Bharat Ventures (65%), ZCCM Investment Holdings (35%)
  • Location: Maamba mine, Sinazongwe District, Southern Province, Zambia
  • Coordinates: -17.3527223, 27.1859398 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Units 1-2: Operating
    • Units 3-4: Announced
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Phase I (Units 1-2: 2x150 MW)
    • Phase II (Units 3-4: 2x150 MW)
  • Type: Circulating fluidized bed
  • Projected in service: 2016 (Units 1 and 2)
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: US$515 million in debt from the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Standard Chartered, and ABSA Bank; US$315 million in equity from Nava Bharat Ventures and ZCCM Investment Holdings[14]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Power Generation," MCL Website, accessed January 2013
  2. Paul Baruya and John Kessels, "Coal prospects in Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia," IEA Clean Coal Centre, December 2013 (the report is available for purchase)
  3. "Nava Bharat: Investor Presentation", Nava Bharat, March 1, 2014
  4. "Maamba mine’s 330 megawatt thermal power plant almost ready," Mining News, June 13, 2014
  5. "Zambia: Maamba Plant to Mitigate Power Deficit," All Africa, May 1, 2016
  6. Annual Report, Nava Bharat Ventures, August 2016
  7. "Maamba Collieries complement hydropower generation," ESI Africa, July 20, 2020
  8. "Maamba Collieries power generation back to 100% capacity," The Mast, January 12, 2020
  9. "Maamba collieries completes five years of energy supply," Mining Review, August 6, 2021
  10. "Maamba Collieries plans to increase generation," Zambia Daily, June 23, 2017
  11. "Maamba collieries completes five years of energy supply," Mining Review, August 6, 2021
  12. "Maamba Collieries ready to increase power generation capacity by 100%," Lusaka Times, December 19, 2021
  13. Tildy Bayar, "China to fund Zambian coal-fired power project," Power Engineering, August 6, 2015
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Preview of Maamba Coal-Fired Power Plant Phase I (300MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  15. "$900 million invested to enable the Maamba Coal Power Plant to run on full capacity," Lusaka Times, August 12, 2019
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Calls for quick resolution to ZESCO – MCL debt impasse," Mining Review, October 20, 2021
  17. "Investor Presentation: February 2022," Nava Bharat, February 2022
  18. "Maamba Collieries ready to increase power generation capacity by 100%," Lusaka Times, December 19, 2021
  19. "Investor Presentation: November 2022," Nava Limited, November 2022

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