AVZ Power, a subsidiary of AVZ Minerals Limited, has signed an MOU with Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Hydraulic Resources and Energy to investigate the feasibility of refurbishment of the Mpiana-Mwanga hydroelectric power station on the Luvua River and associated power grids in the Manono Territory.
The Mpiana-Mwanga station is located about 85km east-south-east of the site of AVZ Minerals proposed Manono mine site. The power station was originally built in 1933 to service the historic tin mine but closed in 1982 when operations ceased.
At present, power is generated at the Manono town site using diesel generators and a recently commissioned 1.5MW solar power system, whilst at AVZ’s camp it is
powered by a smaller 20Kva solar system with a diesel powered back-up generator.
Based on a positive outcome of the feasibility studies, AVZ Powers’ intends to acquire from the DRC Government a long-term, 100% exclusive lease to rehabilitate the Mpiana-Mwanga hydro-electric power station.
It is estimated up to approximately 54MW of electricity can be generated from the rehabilitated power station – sufficient to power the Manono town site and AVZ’s nearby mining camp and associated infrastructure and any future expansion of the mine site, including a 25Ktpa hydroxide plant.
“We have been working towards securing this opportunity for several months now as we consider the rehabilitation of the Mpiana-Mwanga power station is a major step forward for the Company,” explained AVZ Minerals Managing Director, Nigel Ferguson. “Controlling the refurbishment of the hydropower plant allows the Company to develop the hydro plant in phases that align with AVZ’s mine expansion program, with the first phase delivering approximately 18MW of electricity from two turbines.
“We can then expand the existing power station, which has capacity for six turbines, to deliver additional electricity for our expanded DMS plus flotation operation and finally, our third expansion phase – establishing a hydroxide plant – with a combined requirement of approximately 54MW of electricity.”