Exxaro to build power plant

The new 600 megawatt power plant will take around four years to complete.

Exxaro has teamed up with French independent power producer GDF Suez on a new 600 megawatt power plant that will be built in limpopo. Picture:Michelle Lubbe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Exxaro Resources and French independent power producer GDF Suez have teamed up to built a new coal-fired power plant in the Waterberg region of northern Limpopo province.

The 600 megawatt power plant will be situated next to Exxaro's Grootgeluk coal mine.

While the plant is small in comparison to Medupi, it could expand to around 1,200 Megawatts.

Fuel for the plant will be supplied from Exxaro's Thabametsi mine.

The construction of the plant is expected to take about four years to complete.

Cost estimates are still unknown. However, industry estimates are that it could cost between R15 and R20 billion.

By building its own generator, Exxaro can ensure it has electricity to operate as Eskom struggles to meet demand.

Last week, Eskom announced delays to its Medupi power plant in Limpopo.

The first electricity from the power station was initially due to come online at the end of this year.

The project is now only expected to be completed in the second half of 2014.

The delay has sparked fresh fears of load-shedding and has led to the cost of the project swelling by more than R10 billion.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday that he's been assured by contractors that the Medupi power station will start delivering electricity next year.

He said he would do his own assessment to see what went wrong and ensure things stay on track this time.

"I've instituted a study by a consulting firm to assess the project and engineering management capability. The study will also ascertain the extent of the risks including assessing the drivers for the delays and cost escalation."