The US$1.4 billion Hwange expansion project is taking shape with the contractor, Sino Hydro optimistic of covering at least 38% of the construction work by December 2019, while a total of US$5 million has already been spent on the local market in procurement of critical materials.

Zimbabwe, which is on a journey towards attaining energy self-sufficiency, hopes to inject an additional 600mw to the national grid after the completion of the US$1.4 billion Hwange expansion project.

On Friday the 1st of March, government officials, traditional leaders, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Sino Hydro officials gathered to witness the laying of foundations for units 7 and 8 of the expansion project.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Dr Joram Gumbo hailed the progress and expressed confidence that the mega project will spur economic transformation.

The conceptual designs for the power plant, substations and transmission lines have also been finalized and today marks an important milestone for the beginning of the foundation construction.

Sino Hydro Country Representative, Mr Wu Yifeng and ZESA Holdings Acting CEO, Engineer Patrick Chivaura stressed that despite some obstacles being encountered, the project will be delivered within the set budget and deadline which is January 2022.

“I believe that with the strong support of government ministries, ZESA Holdings and all other stakeholders, Sino Hydro will overcome all difficulties and deliver the project on budget within time,” he said.

Mrs Nyaradzo Masocha, who was representing Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, highlighted the importance of the project to the region and the nation in terms of stimulating economic activities and job creation.

Since the groundbreaking ceremony in June 2018 which was led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, significant progress has been made including the construction of a warehouse, fabrication workshop, batching plant and excavations.

Notable progress has also been made on the transmission and distribution works.

Stakeholders who graced the event also took part in a clean-up exercise in solidarity with the rest of the country’s citizens with calls for the Hwange community to prioritise environment stewardship.