Belgian contractor Besix has been chosen to design and build the $1.1bn Nachtigal dam on the Sanaga River in the centre of Cameroon, about 65km northeast of the capital of Yaoundé. It will work with French infrastructure company Nouvelles Générations d’Entrepreneurs and Morocco’s Société Général des Travaux de Maroc on the project.
Mathieu Dechamps, general manager Besix’ International Business Unit, commented: “We’ve already carried out a number of reference projects in the country. These include the Yaoundé hospital buildings, various ministries, the Pont de l’Enfance bridge, a spillway on the Sanaga River, as well as various docks in the port of Douala.
“With our participation in the Nachtigal hydropower project, we are proud to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions.” The 420MW project is being developed by the Nachtigal Hydro Power Company, a consortium made up of French utility EDF, the State of Cameroon and the International Finance Corporation, a division of the World Bank Group.
The World Bank is putting $300m in loans and guarantees towards the cost of the scheme with the remainder being advanced by a pool of international and local lenders. Work will begin before the end of the year and is expected to last 57 months. When complete it is expected to boost the West African country’s generating capacity by 30%.
Besix will design and build a 2km long, 14m high dam in roller-compacted concrete, as well as digging a 3km supply canal and carrying out the installation of the electrical generating equipment, consisting of seven 60MW turbines) and water intake facilities.