The French company Voltalia has just been appointed by Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc. to build a 12 MWp photovoltaic solar power plant to supply its Blanket mine in Zimbabwe. The installation will supply 27% of the gold mine's electricity needs.
After successfully raising US$13 million a month ago for the construction of a solar power plant for its Blanket gold mine, Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc. is continuing to develop its project by selecting Voltalia to carry out the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The French company was selected following a call for tenders launched in 2019.
Caledonia Mining Corporation plans to implement the project in several phases, the first of which will allow its planning after the signing of the EPC contract with Voltalia. The plant is expected to begin supplying power to the Blanket gold mine in the last quarter of 2021. The solar panels will be installed on a 40-hectare site and will produce 12 MWp. This voltage should provide 27% of the needs of this gold mine located in the Matabeleland South province.
The aim of this clean energy project is not only to reduce the ecological footprint of the Blanket mine, but above all to minimise the impact of load shedding caused by the obsolescence and production deficit of Zimbabwe’s national electricity grid. This problem is exacerbated by the drought that is causing the level of the Kariba Dam, the country’s main electricity generating infrastructure, to fall. With a capacity of 1,319 MW, the facility is operated by the Zambezi River Authority, which supplies electricity to the national power grids of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Jean Marie Takouleu