Chinese contractors to switch on $1.3bn Nigerian hydroelectric dam in first quarter

The Kaduna River in central Nigeria (Jula2812/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Nigeria’s second largest hydroelectric project is set to become operational this year, with the commissioning process due to begin before the end of March.

The $1.3bn Zungeru dam is being built on the Kaduna River, a tributary of the Niger, in the centre of the country. The work is being carried out by two Chinese companies: Sinohydro and the China National Electric Engineering Company (CNEEC).

According to Sinohydro, the first phase will be a 175MW turbine, with three others to follow, giving a total power output of 700MW, meeting around 10% of Nigeria’s demand.

Work on Zungeru began in 2013, and Li Xiao Ming, the deputy director of the project, said the scheme is presently 95% complete, Nigeria’s The Nation reported.

The roller-compacted dam is 101m high and has a length of 233m. The reservoir, which displaced around 500 people, will store up to 10.4 billion cubic metres of water.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is paying 75% of the cost of the work, after agreeing a preferential loan from Exim Bank of China.

Beijing-based Sinohydro is a subsidiary of the state-owned Power Construction Corporation of China; CNEEC is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation.

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