African bank eyes supplemental funding for 50-MW Bumbuna

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is considering a supplementary loan to Sierra Leone to assist in completion of the long-delayed 50-MW Bumbuna hydroelectric project on the Seli River.

The dam was begun in the 1970s as an Italian aid project, but was suspended because of war, corruption, and a lack of cash. Work resumed in 2005 but stopped four months before its completion in 2007 because a commercial loan could not be finalized. The project also had a funding shortfall after looters stole 207 kilometers of transmission cables and many of the pylons.

AfDB said the cost to complete the project is 35.61 million units of account (UA) (US$57.33 million). The bank is considering providing UA10.3 million (US$16.58 million) of that amount, with the government of Italy to supply UA11.3 million (US$18.2 million), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development to provide UA6.43 million (US$10.3 million), and Sierra Leone to provide UA7.58 million (US$12.2 million).

The supplemental funding is scheduled for presentation to the AfDB board in October. AfDB said consultant services are to be procured.

Project installations are expected to be completed in February 2009 and ready for commercial operation in June 2009. Environmental and social components financed by AfDB are to be completed in December 2009.

London-based African Minerals Ltd. agreed in May to commission an engineering study of the long-delayed 50-MW Bumbuna hydroelectric project as part of its studies of its Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone. (HNN 5/7/08)

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