FQM signs power supply agreement with ZESCO

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) and ZESCO have entered into a Power Supply Agreement (PSA), where the latter will supply over 420 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) of renewable power to FQM’s Trident and Kansanshi mine sites.

The deal marks a new era of cooperation and securing a sustainable energy supply for FQM’s Trident and Kansanshi mines. And the ten-year agreement presents a new era of collaboration and sustainable energy development.

Under the terms of the PSA, ZESCO will supply over 420 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) of renewable power to FQM’s Trident and Kansanshi mine sites. This substantial power supply will support FQM’s ongoing operations and underscore its commitment to sustainable mining practices in Zambia. Pricing is aligned with the independent cost of service study of ZESCO completed in 2021.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Rudi Badenhorst, First Quantum Minerals Chief Operating Officer said FQM’s significant investments in Zambia, including its S3 project and Enterprise nickel mine, were driven by the availability of reliable and cost-competitive power provided by ZESCO.

“First Quantum Minerals’ Board’s decision in 2022 to invest US$1.25 billion in the S3 expansion at Kansanshi and a US$100 million in the Enterprise nickel mine, was heavily influenced by the availability and reliability and the reliability of cost-competitive renewable power in Zambia, a testament to ZESCO’s stewardship of the country’s electrical infrastructure.

“These investments will create thousands of jobs and reflect First Quantum’s long-term dedication to Zambia’s New Dawn,” he said.

He further said that the 10-year duration of the PSA symbolises the long-term commitment of the FQM-ZESCO relationship, marking a reset and a new era of collaboration and constructive engagement.

“We at FQM are particularly thrilled about ZESCO’s commitment to certifying that the power supplied to us is from renewable sources. This alignment with our sustainability goals not only enhances our operations but also resonates with our ethos of environmental responsibility. It’s a significant step towards reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to global environmental preservation efforts.

“ZESCO’s strategic vision, particularly its commitment to integrating Independent Power Producers into Zambia’s grid, is commendable as well. We are especially thrilled to see Zambia’s grid opening up to regional Independent Power Producers,” he continued.

And ZESCO’s Managing Director, Victor Mapani said the power utility recognises the crucial role that the mining sector plays in Zambia’s economy, and as the engine that drives the sector, ZESCO is committed to provide the vital supply of electricity to support its growth.

“To meet this demand and support the sustainable growth of the mining sector, continue contributing positively to the economic fabric of Zambia, ZESCO will continue to manage the relationships between critical customers and even the small customers in total.

The signing of this Power Supply Agreement between ZESCO and First Quantum Minerals, is not only a significant step towards ensuring a commercially and legally sustainable relationship, but also aligns ZESCO’s vision to be and effective provider of reliable and environmentally sustainable electricity by the year 2023, in line with ZESCO’s strategic plan,” he continued.

In line with ZESCO’s strategy to integrate IPPs, FQM is also exploring an off-take arrangement with TotalEnergies for its 400 MW hybrid solar/wind project. The integration of this project into the Zambian grid will significantly boost Zambia’s renewable energy capacity and contribute to the country’s environmental sustainability goals.

The mining firm is of the view that ZESCO’s commitment to certifying that the power supplied to FQM is from renewable sources where practical will ensure that FQM’s operations align with its sustainability commitments, that this commitment is crucial for Zambia’s transition to a low-carbon economy and that it demonstrates ZESCO’s leadership in the region’s energy sector.

FQM also believes that the opening up of Zambia’s grid to IPPs is a critical step towards enhancing the stability and reliability of the country’s power supply. This move aligns with President Hakainde Hichilema’s vision of transforming Zambia into a regional hub for energy production and distribution.

By: Gary Kakompe

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