Tanzania will start construction next year of a long-planned $3 billion coal and iron-ore mine and a 600 MW coal-fired power plant, a spokesperson for the State development agency said on Thursday.
The projects, on a site some 900 km (540 miles) southwest of commercial capital Dar es Salaam, were initially set out three years ago under a joint venture deal with a Chinese company.
They are part of plans to increase the east African country’s coal-fired power generation capacity and exports, exploiting its five-billion tonnes of coal reserves.
East Africa’s second-biggest economy suffers from frequent blackouts due to supply shortfalls, forcing most businesses and wealthy people to have stand-by generators, and is trying to ease the constraints cited as a barrier to economic growth.
Tanzania already produces coal from two mines, mainly for power generation. Coal production is part of its broader energy strategy, which includes exploiting recent big natural gas finds off its southern coast.