* Construction to start in April
* Environmental approvals delay plant
March 8 (Reuters) - Maamba Collieries, majority owned by Singaporean miner Nava Bharat Pte, has pushed back to 2015 the completion of its 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Zambia due to delays in getting environmental approvals, an official said on Thursday.
Nava Bharat acquired a 65 percent stake in Maamba in 2009 and the remaining 35 percent was retained by the government of Zambia. As part of the deal, Nava Bharat said it would revive the operations of the Maamba mine and build the coal-fired power plant.
Construction, which was initially due to start last year, would begin next month and the power project was likely to be completed in 2015 instead of 2014, Maamba Chief Operating Officer Gurram Narayana told Reuters.
“We only got the project approved last week and we have given notice to our contractor to start work in mid-April,” Narayana said.
“We have delayed to start this project and we hope that by 2015 we should be done.”
According to a detailed layout of the project, the plant would initially produce 300 MW and later add another 300 MW.
The investment for the first phase of the project was $750 million, Narayana said. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Erica Billingham)