DR Congo seeks US$40 billion investment for Inga complex

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) plans to woo investors in July to fund the expansion of its giant Inga hydroelectric complex at a cost of US$40 billion.

DRC Energy Minister Salomon Baliene says it is now time to launch the expansion, with a target capacity of 40,000 MW, forming the base of an African grid that will link the continent’s power pools.

“We are talking with governments, companies, banks, and so on to raise the US$40 billion required to build the next phase of Inga,” Baliene said June 1 at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town. “We will come back here (South Africa) to hold a conference in July to speak to businesses, anyone who wants to invest for a stake in Inga, and earn what we know will be a good return.”

Baliene said it was hard to tell how many investors would back the expansion, but the war-torn nation is hoping for a fresh start with elections on July 30, the first of their kind in more than four decades.

“It has taken us a long time to get this project off the ground because we did not have peace,” he said. “It is difficult to attract anyone’s money when there is no security.”

Inga, on the Congo River, has provided power to Congo’s southern mining centre Lubumbashi, as well as to Zambia and as far as South Africa. But years of neglect meant it has been operating below the level suggested by the combined capacity of 1,774 MW from 350-MW Inga 1 and 1,424-MW Inga 2, the scheme’s first two power stations.

MagEnergy reports income from Inga 2 work

MagEnergy Inc., a unit of Canada’s MagIndustries Corp., is leading initial repair work at Inga, saying it plans to invest US$200 million in the rehabilitation.

MagIndustries reported June 6 that MagEnergy now is receiving monthly income from its Phase 1 refurbishment activities at Inga 2. In April, it began emergency repairs to 178-MW turbine-generator Unit G-23, which is to return to full operation by the first quarter of 2007. Phase 2, full renovation of four more units, is to begin in early 2007.