Inga backer to develop DRC’s 350-MW Busanga

Canada’s MagEnergy Inc., backer of a plan to refurbish the 1,774-MW Inga hydroelectric complex, has signed an agreement to build the 300- to 350-MW Busanga project, also in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

MagEnergy said May 18 it concluded the Busanga agreement with the Ministry of Energy following the appointment of MagEnergy as an independent power producer in the DRC.

The Busanga site, on the Lualaba River in Katanga Province, has been the subject of previous technical studies. MagEnergy initially is to collect and review those studies before proceeding with its own feasibility work.

MagEnergy, a unit of Canadian magnesium producer MagIndustries Corp., expects feasibility studies to include civil engineering, hydro-mechanical and electrical equipment, and environmental effects. If results are positive, the developer intends to proceed with financing by the second quarter of 2007.

The developer said it intends to build, own, and operate Busanga as an IPP, which would allow it to negotiate and sell electricity directly to end users, using the transmission system of DRC utility Societe Nationale d’Electricite. Busanga is 65 kilometers north of Kolwezi in a region of numerous copper development projects expected to require up to 500 MW in the next six years.

MagEnergy heavily involved in Africa hydropower

MagEnergy began work April 27 to refurbish one generator at the 1,424-MW Inga 2 plant on the Congo River. MagEnergy is providing US$12 million for that first phase of Inga refurbishment. In Phase 2, MagEnergy is to finance rehabilitation of the next four units over four years at an estimated cost of US$110 million. The lead contractor for Phase 1 is Franco Tossi of Italy.

MagIndustries is developing the 60,000-ton-per-year Kouilou Magnesium Project in neighboring Pointe Noire, Congo Republic (CR). It originally intended to build either a new 360-MW Kouilou hydroelectric project or a cogeneration plant in CR to power the magnesium plant. Plans changed when MagIndustries found that anticipated energy costs from Inga would enable it to produce some of the lowest-cost magnesium in the world.

For information, contact MagIndustries Corp., President William Burton, 372 Bay St., Suite 801, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2W9 Canada; (1) 416-3687911; E-mail: wburton@magindustries.com; or Georges Kyriakos, Vice President Development, MagEnergy Inc., Johannesburg, South Africa; (27) 11-2637704; E-mail: gkyriakos@magindustries.com; Internet: www.magindustries.com.

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