Sojitz, Abengoa in $125 Million Ghana Desalination Project Pact

Sojitz Corp., Japan’s largest importer of rare earth metals, said it will take part in a $125 million desalination project in Ghana with the Spanish company Abengoa SA, the first of its type in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Tokyo-based company said in a statement today that construction on the project in Accra will begin next month with commercial operations expected to start in 2014 on a plant to supply as much as 60,000 cubic meters of water a day, sufficient for 500,000 residents.

Desalinated water will be sold to Ghana Water Co. under a 25-year sales contract. Sojitz said it and Abengoa Water formed a business alliance a year ago for joint development desalination projects, mainly in Africa and the Americas.

About 4 million of Ghana’s 24 million populace live in Accra and the surrounding area. Water demand “is scarcely met by the supply in the region and 40 percent of the nation is unable to secure safe water,” Sojitz said in the statement. Cholera broke out in parts of Ghana in 2010 “and security of safe water is a matter of great urgency,” it said.

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