UPDATE – African bank approves supplemental funds for 50-MW Bumbuna

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a supplementary loan worth US$16.5 million to Sierra Leone to assist in completion of the long-delayed 50-MW Bumbuna hydroelectric project on the Seli River.

AfDB said the cost to complete the project is 35.61 million units of account (UA) (US$57.33 million). (HNN 10/3/08) The bank’s African Development Fund voted October 8 to provide UA10.3 million (US$16.5 million) of that amount.

The government of Italy is to supply UA11.3 million (US$18.2 million) to the project, while the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development provides UA6.43 million (US$10.3 million), and Sierra Leone provides UA7.58 million (US$12.2 million).

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 part of the funding is to finance procurement of consultant services. 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 5/7/07)

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