Rio Tinto Alcan plans Cameroon’s 1,000-MW Songmbengue, 330-MW Nachtigal

Rio Tinto Alcan and the government of Cameroon have amended a 2005 letter of intent to provide access to additional water resources for construction of the 1,000-MW Songmbengue hydroelectric project on Cameroon’s Sanaga River.

The new hydro project agreement is to facilitate technical and pre-feasibility studies for a new greenfield aluminum smelter with potential to produce 400,000 tons per year. Rio Tinto Alcan said November 30 it plans to carry out the technical studies and to decide whether to proceed by the end of 2009.

Alucam, a joint venture of Cameroon and Rio Tinto’s recent acquisition, Alcan Inc. of Canada, originally agreed in 2005 on a plan to expand Alucam’s existing aluminum smelter at Edea. (HNN 1/8/07) That plan included construction of the 330-MW Nachtigal hydroelectric project on the Sanaga and construction of 56-MW Lom Pangar Dam on the Lom River, which is considered necessary to store water for efficient operation of Nachtigal downstream.

�This brownfield project continues to move forward as all of the technical studies have been completed and environmental authorizations have been obtained,� Rio Tinto Alcan said. �An energy contract with local electrical utility AES Sonel is currently being negotiated.�

Rio Tinto Alcan said it agreed with Cameroon jointly to study ways to accelerate construction of �the required� Lom Pangar Dam.

Construction of Lom Pangar also is expected to increase generation of the downstream projects, 396-MW Song Loulou and 263-MW Edea. (HNN 3/6/07)

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd. completed acquisition in October of Canada’s Alcan Inc. for US$38.1 billion to create the world’s biggest aluminum producer. (HNN 7/13/07)

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