Work on the Batoka Gorge Power Plant, a 1 600MW joint venture with Zambia, is likely to start in January next year if talks to raise finance for the project succeed, an official said on Friday.
Chris Yaluma, Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development who is new chairman of the Zambezi River Authority council of ministers, said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the feasibility assessment of the project would be completed by June.
“The ZRA has not established a budget for the Batoka project yet but discussions are under way to secure funding with the project expected to commence in January 2016,” he said.
So far, ZRA has committed $6 million to the project which would be used for the EIA and feasibility studies, he added. ZRA manages Zimbabwe and northern neighbour Zambia’s joint ownership of the project.
Britain’s Environmental Resources Management (ERM), which has operations in more than 40 countries, was contracted to carry out the assessment through its South African office.
The Batoka plant is expected to take six years to complete.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing crippling power shortages over the past decade, with demand rising to 2 200MW against generation of an average of 1 501MW, with the shortfall supplemented with imports mainly from Mozambique.
Yaluma told the council that the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam wall will commence in four months.
The project, with total financing of $300 million, is being co-financed by the African Development Bank and the European Union and will help the ZRA, which is also responsible for the management of the Kariba Dam, to reshape the dam’s plunge pool and refurbish its spillway, as well as improve dam operations in order to bring it up to international safety standards.
The EU and AfDB have provided loans of $284 million, which Yaluma said he was confident will be repaid with no problems.
Zimbabwe’s finance and energy ministers, Patrick Chinamasa, Samuel Undenge attended the meeting.
The council of ministers also said that Munodawafa Munyaradzi has been appointed for another five-year term as ZRA’s chief executive.- The Source