Batoka Dam deal expected to go ahead

by Judith Hara

Batoka Gorges

Batoka Gorges

ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly construct the 1,650 mega watts Batoka Hydro-power project which is estimated to cost in excess of US$4 billion.

Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma confirmed the development in Lusaka yesterday, saying the agreement was signed during the Council of Ministers which was held at Kariba in Siavonga last weekend.

Recently, the Zimbabwean government agreed to pay off more than $70 million it owes Zambia for the sale of the Central African Power Corporation (CAPC) assets which were jointly owned by the two countries.

Mr Yaluma said the agreement was dependant on Zimbabwe’s commitment to pay off the debt it owed Zambia on time.

He said the two countries had agreed in principle and was now going into capital sourcing.

The minister said Government was already in talks with the possible funders, who would bankroll the project.

"This means that Zimbabwe will have to pay off the debt without defaulting and this is expected to be paid within a period of three years," Mr Yaluma said.

Plans for the project were initially mooted in 1993, but the Zambian Government was reluctant because of the outstanding debts which it wanted Zimbabwe to clear first.

The proposed Batoka Power project site is located below the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and once completed would boost power supply in the two countries.

Mr Yaluma said the Government had mandated Zambezi River Authority and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Company to commence and conduct a feasibility study.

He said the project was expected to commence soon when all logistics were in place.

The meeting was attended by the Attorney General, Finance and Energy ministers from both Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Comments for Batoka Dam deal expected to go ahead

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Feb 15, 2012
Very Worrying
by: Tony

I am not sure who else is worried about this report, but I certainly am. The construction of this Dam would flood all the rapids below the Falls that currently constitute the White water rafting. It is a gorge of immense beauty and flooding it would be a tradgedy.

The dam has been on the cards for about 25 years now and they have never been able to afford it, so that might still be the case, but this is cropping up more and more in recent months, so there is definately a drive to make it happen.

Mar 20, 2012
Batoka Dam site no!
by: Concerned

This would be a catastrophic development. The dam would in essence be a dead dam, the steep sided gorge would not sustain a viable fish population. In addition one of the worlds last pristine environments would be lost. What is particularly upsetting is that there are many other opportunities to generate power. Zambia is already committed to the Kafue dam project and plans already exist for a second phase of the Vic falls power station. Zimbabwe should look to develop existing infrastructure which has been badly neglected. Before rushing into a new project.
I sincerely hope Zimbabwe defaults and this area can be saved.

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