• Project on Congo River will produce about 4,800 megawatts
  • Inga 3 part of Grand Inga project of about 50,000 megawatts

The Democratic Republic of Congo intends to begin construction of the Inga 3 hydroelectric dam as early as the end of next year, according to Prime Minister Matata Ponyo.

“The project is in an advanced state,” Ponyo said in a Dec. 2 interview in London. “We are in the process of selecting the principal project partners. The ideal would be to begin works by the end of 2016 or the start of 2017.”

The $12 billion project will produce about 4,800 megawatts and represent the first phase of the larger Grand Inga project, a hydropower complex that would span the Congo river and produce as much as 50,000 megawatts of power when complete, according to the World Bank.

The government had originally hoped to start construction by October 2015, but the selection process has faced delays.

The lender approved in March 2014 financing of $73 million for environmental and social impact studies for the project. It said at the time that no decision had been taken on whether the World Bank Group would eventually support construction of the dam.

In October, Congo established the Office for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga Project and appointed former minister Bruno Kapandji as its head.

Congo’s government has said it would choose a developer for Grand Inga from three groups of companies: China Three Gorges Corp. and Sinohydro Corp.; Posco and Daewoo Corp. of South Korea in partnership with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.; and Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, based in Madrid, and Spain’s Eurofinsa SA.

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