The Democratic Republic of Congo plans to start construction work this year on the frequently delayed Inga 3 hydro power project at a predicted cost of US $13.9bn, after receiving a joint bid from two previously competing consortia of investors. This is according to Bruno Kapandji, director of the Agency for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga Project.
DRC, Africa’s biggest copper producer and the world’s largest source of cobalt, has been considering building Inga 3 for over a decade to address a power shortage that has curbed mining-industry growth. A treaty signed in 2013 allowed the plant to export 2,500MW of power to South Africa. The plant would form part of a larger Grand Inga hydro power complex spanning part of the Congo River and produce as much as 50,000MW when complete, according to the World Bank.
“Our aim is to start Inga3 hydro power this year. The two consortia have given us a document in which they committed to creating a single consortium. We are in the process of preparing, discussing and negotiating the exclusive collaboration contract which will allow the single candidate to go to the market to find the financing.” Kapandji said.
The two consortia will work together and submit a joint offer to build and manage the hydro power and once a concessionaire company has been established, the developers will commit themselves to mobilising the funds to pave way for construction.
The initial phase plan of the project was supposed to produce 4,800MW .However, its capacity status changed after an increase in demand. According to Kapandji, The mining industry’s energy deficit has increased from about 500 megawatts to 1,300MW in the intervening years since the project was conceived. Construction of the power plant is estimated to take seven years.