Zambia expects its power generation capacity to rise to over 3,000 megawatts by 2016 and plans to export the surplus electricity to its neighbours, the chairman of state power firm Zesco told Reuters on Wednesday.

Zambia generates 1,800 MW, with peak demand estimated at 1,600 MW but forecasts demand to also rise sharply over the coming years.

Kwalela Lamaswala said in an interview that new major generation projects were expected to start producing power by 2016, which would significantly raise the country's generation capacity.

We see our installed capacity rising to over 3,000 megawatts and that will give us an opportunity to export to our neighbours, Lamaswala said.

He added: Even after big mining projects like Trident mine and the Konkola deep come on stream, we will still have enough power for us to export.

Zambia's Kariba power station output is expected to be upgraded to 720 MW, from the current 540 MW. The Kafue Gorge lower project would add 700-800 MW to the grid by 2016, Lamaswala said.

Private developers like Zambia's largest distributor of power to the mines, Copperbelt Energy Corp, were also building power stations to meet rising demand, he said.

Konkola Copper Mines, owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources, plans to invest $1 billion in the next 3-4 years in a bid to become a major global copper producer.