Copperbelt Energy of Zambia Eyes $250 Million Power Investment

(Bloomberg) -- Copperbelt Energy Corp., the Zambian electricity supplier with customers including Glencore Plc’s copper mines, may invest as much as $250 million in solar projects and transmission lines in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Chief Executive Officer Owen Silavwe said.

The amount includes two solar plants to generate 30 megawatts and 50 megawatts respectively, and the company is still determining their feasibility, he said Tuesday in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in Le Morne, near the Mauritian capital of Port Louis. He estimates the total cost at between $80 million and $100 million.

“We’re beginning to look at infrastructure in the DRC,” Silavwe said, adding that Copperbelt Energy may support the Congolese state-owned power utility to develop new transmission lines to improve supplies to copper and cobalt mines there. “We are hopeful that in the next two years we will get to a stage where we implement some of these projects.”

CEC, as the company is also known, buys power from Zambia’s state-owned electricity producer and supplies it to mines in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer. The U.K.’s CDC Group Plc in January offered $380 million to buy Copperbelt Energy but the conditions to the buyout are yet to be fulfilled.

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