Mozambique Energy: “Confusion over Mphanda Nkuwa” – by Joseph Hanlon

damThe long-proposed Mphanda Nkuwa dam has seemed the best bet for electricity generation; it would be only 60 km downstream from the Cahora Bassa dam and the two could be operated together, using the same water twice.

But the project seems never to get off the ground, in part due to a lack of market for the electricity. After a decade of false starts President Filipe Nyusi on 22 August announced that HCB (Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa) and EDM (Electricidade de Mocambique) are the two companies mandated to carry out the project, and that this replaced a deal agreed in 2010 in which Insitec, owned by Celso Correia (who is now land and environment minister) would have 35%, the Brazilian construction company Camargo Correa would have 35%, and 30% by EDM. But that project never advanced. (@Verdade 23 Aug)

But Zitamar (24 Aug) says it will not be so easy. The previous energy minister, Leticia Klemens, who spent only 10 months in the post, signed a framework agreement in March 2017 with Manannan Hydro, a company owned by Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai royal family. Manannan would buy out Insitec and Camargo Correa for $8.9 mn, and end up with 60% of the project. It claims it has already spent $6 mn on studies. Pedro Couto was energy minister before Klemens, was relieved of that post and made chair of HCB in September 2016.

Possible restart for Moamba Maior

Work on the Moamba Maior dam on the Incomati River, intended to supply water to Maputo as well as irrigation water, was stopped in 2016 because of the Brazilian corruption scandal. Public Works Minister Joao Machatine says the Brazilian contractor Andrade Gutierrez had identified Chinese money and that work would resume. But the cost would increase from $460 mn to $700 mn, partly by adding in the cost of the 80 km pipe to Maputo. (Lusa 17 Aug) But Savana (24 Aug) points out that like the Katembe bridge, the cost seems to jump when the Chinese are providing the funds.

By Joseph Hanlon

Source: News reports & clippings

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