Story by Owen Mandovha, Business Reporter
PLAYERS in the mining sector are taking the lead in easing pressure on the national grid after Blanket Gold Mine completed a 12-megawatt solar plant in a development that also points to the success of the government’s renewable energy policy.
Blanket Gold Mine owned by New York Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining has set its sights on making Zimbabwe its launch pad for further global expansion after investing heavily in increasing production at its Gwanda-based gold mine.
The company which has been depending on generators to plug the power supply deficit embarked on a 12-megawatt solar project to offset its fuel bills.
The solar plant which was completed late last year has been connected to the mine reducing diesel purchases by a massive 85 percent.
The development also signifies the success of the government’s policy on renewable energy generation to diversify and increase the electricity supply in the country.
It has since become a trend in the mining sector as companies are embarking on more solar projects, with Eureka Gold Mine in Guruve constructing a solar plant to safeguard its energy supply.
Eureka Gold Mine resumed production after its commissioning by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after more than two decades under care and maintenance.
Surrounding communities are also expected to benefit as public institutions like schools and clinics will be connected to electricity.
Other solar projects in the pipeline include the 30-megawatt solar plant by Karo Resources which is constructing a platinum mine in Mashonaland West Province.
Another platinum giant in the same province, Zimplats, has also resorted to solar energy for its operations as the country braces for increased energy demand as more industrial projects are being set up in various sectors of the economy.
The Second Republic has taken a cocktail of measures, including promoting private sector participation in energy generation in line with anticipation of the continued growth of the economy.