Rio Energy has announced that China Gezhouba Group Corp (CGGC) will assist it with the construction of a 1400 MW coal-fired power plant in northern Zimbabwe.

The $3 million project is planned for construction in Sengwa and will comprise two 700 MW units.

It could later be expanded to 2800 MW, according to Rio Energy, a unit of mining firm RioZim.

“CGGC will develop the project and assist with the fund raising,” Caleb Dengu, chairman of Rio Energy Ltd told local media in early May. The plant will be fuelled with coal from the Sengwa mine and will pipe water from lake Kariba via a 250 km pipeline.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has given a formal expression of interest in the project and is negotiating with Sinosure, also known as the China Export and Credit Insurance Corp, to cover country risk insurance costs, Bloomberg reported.

Zimbabwe suffers from power shortages due to a combination of poorly maintained infrastructure and a two-year drought.

Zimbabwe generates and imports about 1300 MW of electricity, short of its 2200 MW demand.