Singapore-based firm picked to refurbish Zambia's biggest coal mine

Lusaka  - Zambia has selected a Singapore-based company, Nava Bharat (Singapore), from ten firms vying for a stake in the country's biggest coal mine, it was announced Wednesday.

The semi-state owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) - which owns the Maamba mine - said Nava Bharat, a wholly-owned subsidiary of India-based Nava Bharat Ventures, had been chosen from a total of ten local and foreign firms as its strategic equity and technical partner.

India's Vedanta Resources PLC and London-based energy company Aldwych International were among the unsuccessful bidders.

ZCCM-IH did not stipulate how big Nava Bharat's stake in the mine would be, nor put a value on it.

Maamba mine supplies coal to Zambia's copper and cobalt mines, cement producers, breweries and tobacco farmers and exports to neighboring countries such as Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.

Since 2007, ZCCM-IH has been looking for a partner to refurbish the mine, located 350 kilometres south of the Zambian capital Lusaka.

The mine has 78.2 million tons of coal reserves, enough to sustain operations for more than 90 years, assuming that it operates at its full capacity of 800,000 tons of coal per annum.

But years of undercapitalization have led to a fall in the mine's output from 600,000 tons to between 60,000 and 120,000 tons per annum.

As part of the deal, Nava Bharat will be required to construct a 350-MW thermal power station at the colliery to supply power to the copper and cobalt mines. (dpa)

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