AVZ Minerals Ltd’s (ASX:AVZ) subsidiary AVZ Power has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Hydraulic Resources and Energy to investigate refurbishment of the Mpiana-Mwanga hydro-electric power station on the Luvua River and power grids in the Manono Territory.
Power is currently generated at the Manono townsite using diesel generators and a recently commissioned 1.5-megawatt solar power system while at AVZ’s camp it is powered by a smaller 20 kilo-volt-amperes (kVA) solar system with a diesel-powered back-up generator.
Following a positive outcome of the feasibility studies into re-commissioning the power station, it is AVZ Power’s intention to acquire from the DRC Government a long-term lease to rehabilitate the Mpiana-Mwanga hydro-electric power station.
It is estimated up to around 54 megawatts of electricity can be generated from the rehabilitated power station – enough to power the Manono townsite, AVZ’s nearby mining camp, and associated infrastructure as well as any future expansion of the mine site including a 25Ktpa hydroxide plant.
“A major step forward for the company”
AVZ's managing director Nigel Ferguson said: “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.
“Controlling the refurbishment of the hydropower plant allows us 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.
“From an economic perspective, AVZ is likely to generate significant longer-term savings from generating its own electricity at an estimated 3 to 4 cents per kWh, as opposed to using diesel powered generators at an estimated 42 cents per kWh.”
Signing of the MoU with Ministry representatives in Kinshasa, DRC
Station could provide sufficient power to mine and site
Ferguson added that the electricity generated from the power station could be used for operating all of the mining equipment, making the Manono Lithium and Tin Project a ‘green mine’, as well as providing sufficient electricity to power the entire Manono townsite.
“This would be a significant achievement for the company and everyone associated with the Manono Project, including our shareholders and our financiers.”
The Mpiana-Mwanga hydro-electric power station is about 85 kilometres east-south-east of the proposed Manono mine site.