LUSAKA — Zambian President Rupiah Banda opened the country's largest coal mine Friday, after Singapore's Nava Bharat (Ashok Devineni Chairman and Managing director) took over majority shares and invested $750 million (525 million euros) at the once defunct state entity.
Nava Bharat, a Singapore subsidiary of India's Nava Bharat Ventures, has a 65 percent stake in Maamba Collieries, with Zambia's government owning 25 percent through its Zambia Copper Mines Investment Holdings.
The deal was signed last year to revive the mine situated in Maamba, about 410 kilometres (255 miles) southwest of the capital Lusaka.
Banda said the mine would create nearly 2,000 jobs when it is fully operational.
A power plant is to be built nearby as part of the scheme.
"With the reopening of the mine and the setting up of a power plant, the people of Sinazongwe and the surrounding areas and the Zambians in general will see an improvement in their lives," Banda said.
The mine will start full operations in August, Nava Bharat chief executive officer Ashwin Devineni said.
"Our target is to produce 50,000 tones of coal per month and we are on course to achieving our set targets," Devineni said.
He also said the mine would set up a 300-Megawatt coal-fire power plant, which could double its capacity later.
Devineni said that $650 million of the investment would go towards the power plant, with the remainder invested in the mine which has been dormant since 1997.
Nava Bharat Ventures operates in power, iron alloys, infrastructure and sugar.