Zambia and Zim to launch Batoka Gorge Power Plant ‘as soon as possible’

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By Agencies

ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe plan to launch construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Station on the border between the two countries “as quickly as possible,” Zambian Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji told Sputnik on Wednesday.

“This programme, I hope you realise, involves two countries, who are both keen and agreeable to make sure that it is put in place. We are on track to make sure that this program starts as quickly as possible,” Malanji said.

Malanji added that work on the project was currently dedicated to drawing up legal agreements.

“I will be rushing in giving you specific time of implementation prematurely, because we are actually on the drawing board now, trying to put legal documentation in place, [in particular] the memorandums of understanding between the financiers,” Malanji revealed.

The power plant, which is overseen by the Zambezi River Authority, owned jointly by the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe, will be located on the river and have a capacity of 2,400 megawatts.

Meanwhile, American, European and Chinese companies have since been shortlisted to build the the power plant, Zambia’s ministry of finance said in statement Wednesday.

Preparatory studies, including engineering feasibility will be completed by end of the first quarter.

A request for proposals will be launched by April and the final developer will be appointed by September, the statement said.

“The project will be schemed on a Build-Operate-Transfer financing model and will not put any fiscal strain on the government of Zambia and Zimbabwe as no sovereign guarantees will be required,” it said.

Those shortlisted are a consortium of General Electric and Power Construction Corporation of China, Salini Impregilo of Italy and a joint venture of Chinese firms Three Gorges Corporation, China International and Water Electric Corporation and China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd.