A London-based mining company has outlined plans to build a new coal-fired power plant in Zimbabwe in order to overcome power shortages in the country that are hampering economic development.

Sable Mining has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Citic Construction Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Chinese construction firm Citic Group, to develop a 600 MW power plant at the Lubu coal project.

The two companies have agreed to "explore the opportunities of using their respective expertise to work together to develop a commercial coal-fired power station at Lubu", according to a joint statement. Coal mined at Sable’s Lubu operation in north-western Zimbabwe would supply the power plant.

Sable said that the MOU is supported by the Zimbabwean government. "Considering the energy and power dynamic in southern Africa, there is a major demand for a secure and reliable power supply, which will continue to grow unless new power sources are established," said Sable Mining CEO Andrew Groves.¬†"Our proposition is … a significant step forward¬†in solving the ongoing energy deficit which is currently presenting significant obstacles to development within southern Africa."