Rotor extracted in major step toward rehab of Congo’s 1,424-MW Inga 2

MagEnergy Inc. announced March 20 that crews successfully extracted a 460-ton turbine rotor in a major step toward emergency rehabilitation of the 1,424-MW Inga 2 hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Under an agreement with the DRC utility, Societe Nationale d’Electricite (SNEL), MagEnergy, a unit of Canadian magnesium producer MagIndustries Corp., is leading refurbishment of the project on the Congo River with partner Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa. (HNN 10/9/06)

In Phase 1 of the rehabilitation, the partners are conducting emergency refurbishment of the 172-MW G-23 unit of Inga 2. MagEnergy said extraction of the giant rotor was facilitated by prior repairs to two cranes originally installed at Inga 2 in 1982.

Last year, MagEnergy allotted an initial US$12 million for the emergency work, followed by authorization for another US$10 million. (HNN 7/7/06) Once the Phase 1 work is complete, by the end of 2007, MagEnergy will receive revenue from the resulting sale of 84 MW.

The company expects to begin Phase 2 later this year, including rehabilitation of four of the eight units at Inga 2 at an estimated cost of US$110 million. The African Development Bank has said it will provide US$200 million toward the estimated US$435 million total repair bill for Inga 1 and 2.

Currently, the 350-MW Inga 1 and 1,424-MW Inga 2 produce a total of only 500 MW due to lack of maintenance. MagEnergy and IDC, which holds 30 percent interest in Phase 1 and 15 percent of Phase 2, plan to restore a significant portion of the lost generation under a public-private partnership.

Inga 1 and 2 are the keystone of a proposal by DRC and its neighbors to invest up to US$40 billion to expand the Inga complex to a target capacity of 40,000 MW.

In February, MagEnergy said it signed an agreement to develop the 100- to 130-MW Zongo 2 hydroelectric project in the DRC. The Zongo 2 site is near the aging 80-MW Zongo project on the Inkisi River 80 kilometers southwest of Kinshasa. (HNN 2/22/07) In 2006, it also agreed to build the 300- to 350-MW Busanga hydroelectric project on the Lualaba River in Katanga Province.

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