Govt secures investor for Lupane methane gas project
By Staff reporter | 24 Feb 2020 at 18:40hrs
GOVERNMENT has secured an investor for the Lupane methane gas project and production is expected to start in July this year.
The project is expected to start producing 15MW this year and 1 000MW by December 2027. By last night, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando had not responded to questions he requested to be put in writing on the project.
However, last week the Minister told the National Assembly that Government has identified a potential investor for the project, who is expected to start power generation mid-year.
"There is a prospective investor for the Cewale Methane Gas Project. The external investor has secured project funding for a 15 Megawatts (MW) Pilot Power Production Project from Coal Bed Methane Gas. Production is scheduled to start by July 2020. Phase 2 will scale up the project to 200MW by 2023 and phase 3 will scale up the project to 1 000MW by December 2027," said Minister Chitando.
The Lupane methane gas has remained in the pipeline for years with no serious investors committing to the project. Natural gas reserves were discovered in Lupane several years ago but commercial exploitation has been failing to take off.
Exploration and pilot production works were conducted which showed that the resource can be exploited commercially for domestic and industrial use. Coal-bed methane gas can also be used to produce hydrogen, which in turn is used in the manufacture of ammonia for fertiliser.
As Government implements devolution of power, richly resourced Matabeleland North has eyed the project as one of the natural resources that could spur the province for economic growth.
Zimbabwe has an estimated 40 trillion cubic feet of potentially recoverable gas in the Lupane-Lubimbi area, probably the largest in Southern Africa. Successful exploitation of the resource could place Zimbabwe in the league of this billion-dollar industry in the region and abroad.