Eurasian Resources Group’s (ERG) cobalt and copper developer Metalkol SA has secured electricity supply for its operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for up to 10 years after signing a pact that will see some power transported from Zambia.
The Copperbelt Energy Corp (CEC), a Zambian incorporated power transmission, generation and distribution company that is a major developer of energy infrastructure in Africa, will supply up to 78 MW per year of power to the operation as part of an agreement signed between ERG, Société National d’Electricité (SNEL), the national electricity company of the DRC, and Rawbank, a commercial bank in the DRC.
The agreement to supply electricity is comprised of two phases: the first will run until the June quarter of 2019 with a total of 62 MW delivered. Following this, the power supply will ramp up to 78 MW per year during the second phase and for the remainder of the contract.
Metalkol’s RTR project, located near Kolwezi, involves the use of a low-cost hydro-metallurgical facility to reprocess the old tailings dumped into the environment from mining activities in the 1950s. It is expected to produce 77,000 tonnes per year of copper and 14,000 t/y of cobalt in the first stage, with stage two increasing this to 105,000 t/y and 20,000 t/y of copper and cobalt, respectively.
Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, said: “This is an important milestone in the progress of the Metalkol project, a unique development for the global battery industry. It is an example of sustainable and environmentally conscious treatment of the local environment, and of our wider strategic ambitions in Africa.”
Miners in southern DRC have had worries about sustainable power supply in the past few years, with these concerns often holding back expansion plans.
Owen Silavwe, Managing Director of CEC, said: “Supplying base-load power requirements to mining houses is CEC’s principal business. With many years’ experience successfully supplying reliable power for mining operations in both Zambia and the DRC, this agreement demonstrates CEC’s commitment and agility to meet the specific requirements of customers in the DRC market. It also reaffirms CEC’s partnership with SNEL and the mining community in the DRC.”
CEC has invested in transmission networks in Zambia, including the only interconnection of DRC’s SNEL network to the regional interconnected network.
Jean-Bosco Kayombo Kayan, SNEL Director General, said: “The trilateral agreement signed by Metalkol, CEC and SNEL demonstrates SNEL’s willingness to serve its customers by offering its expertise in the Southern African energy market.”