Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
A 500 megawatt solar project will soon be established in the Zhombe area in the Midlands province at a cost of $200 million, an official has said.
Core Zimbabwe Mining Private Limited, one of the three companies working with Zibagwe Rural District Council to erect a number of solar plants in the area, expects to finalise legal processes by the end of this year with construction set for first quarter 2020.
Zibagwe RDC chief executive officer, Mr Farayi Machaya, said the contractor has acquired land for the $200 million investment.
“We are quite pleased with the progress made thus far by Core Zimbabwe. So far, they have managed to secure a 300 hectare piece of land, which is very crucial in this project.
“They have managed to get the lease agreement after completion of all the necessary paperwork and procedures,” said Mr Machaya.
“I am reliably informed they have since acquired a power generation licence from relevant authorities. They have the lease agreement from the Ministry of Lands and they have also acquired a grid connection licence.
“So, in terms of paperwork, they have covered much ground and I am sure they are now left with acquiring the power generation licence from Zera, which I am sure they will get by end of year.”
Mr Machaya said once they get the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) done by end of the year, construction would commence.
“We are hopeful that all the necessary legal processes will be done by the first quarter of 2020 and we start construction,” he said.
The project is expected to create about 300 jobs.
“This is in line with Vision 2030’s focus on poverty eradication and that of creating employment for our local people as envisaged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” said Mr Machaya.
He said the project will immensely benefit the community by supplying power to areas like Kwekwe, Gweru, Kadoma, Gokwe and Nkayi, among others.