By Admore Mbonda
Zimbabwe and Zambia have shortlisted three international companies for the $5 billion Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme. The three companies were shortlisted at a meeting of Zambezi River Authority Council of Ministers held in Livingstone, Zambia on Wednesday.
The Council of Ministers comprising chairperson of Zambian Energy Development Minister Mathew Nkhuwa and his co-chairperson Zimbabwe Energy and Power Development Minister Joram Gumbo.
It also includes Zambian Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakate and Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.
In a communiqué released after the meeting, the Council of Ministers said the meeting was held to review progress regarding the preparatory studies for the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme.
The meeting reviewed the procurement process for the project developer.
“Amongst the key issues discussed were the following: Status of the Preparatory Studies for the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme,” the Council of Ministers said.
The Council of Ministers also approved the overall progress on the preparatory studies for the development of the project.
“The three preparatory studies, which include the engineering feasibility studies, environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and legal and financial transaction advisory services (LFTA) would be completed within the first quarter of 2019,” the ministers said.
On the project developer, the ministers noted and approved the shortlisting of Salini Impregilo of Italy — a joint venture by China Three Gorges Corporation, China International and Water Electric Corporation — China Gezhouba Group Company Limited and a consortium of General Electric of USA and Power Construction Corporation of China.
The ministers set timelines for the launch of request for proposals for April this year, while the appointment of the developer should be done by September this year.
On sustainability of ZRA, the ministers acknowledged the importance of the authority’s mandate in relation to the energy security of the contracting states and the region at large.
“The Council of Ministers remains committed to the bi-lateral cooperation and ensuring the sustainability of the authority’s operations,” they said.
Updating the feasibility studies for Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric project is expected be concluded at the end of the first quarter of this year to set the motion for resource mobilisation. Construction of the $5,2 billion power plant is also set to begin immediately.
The Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric project is a joint venture between Zimbabwe and Zambia, which seeks to develop a 2 400MW power project on the Zambezi River. The two countries would share the power equally on completion of the project. The Herald.