The government of Mozambique has launched an international public tender for a consultant to help it develop a $4.2bn hydroelectric scheme on the Zambesi river, about 60km downstream from the Cahora Bassa Dam.
The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy is looking for a company to help prepare the legal and financial structuring of the Mphanda Nkuwa dam, as well as the associated transmission system.
It’s statement said: "The selection of consultants will be made through a competitive international contracting process, with competing companies having proven experience in carrying out similar work with the same complexity."
Augusto de Sousa, the deputy minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, said in an interview with Lusa, Portugal’s official news agency that the dam would take about 10 years to complete. "Speaking very frankly, Mpanda Nkuwa should go to 2028 or 2029. It won’t happen earlier."
The ministry added that the selected company would work with the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project Implementation Office, created last February to oversee the scheme. The ministry is presently looking to hire a director for this agency.
The Mphanda Nkuwa dam will be 103m tall and is expected to have a capacity of 1.5GW.
It was approved in September 2007, but plans stalled. Filipe Nyusi, the president of Mozambique, announced in August last year that the project would be revived.
Mphanda Nkuwa has already aroused controversy, partly because some 1,400 families will have to be relocated, and partly because of its effect on the Zambesi’s downstream irrigation systems.
Environmental NGO Justica Ambiental, commented that "Mphanda Nkuwa could cement the current problems that are killing the Zambezi ecosystem".
The ministry says the dam will enable Mozambique to increase its installed capacity from 1GW to 8GW over the next 25 years, and enable universal access to mains electricity.
Image: The Cahora Bassa dam is one of three on the Zambesi (Dreamstime)