After years of negotiations, Chinese companies Sinohydro Corp. and China Railway Group Ltd. have agreed to finance a 240MW, $660 million hydro-power plant in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga province that will meet the mining project’s electricity requirements, Bloomberg reported.
The project is meant to help fill a 900MW electricity shortfall in the region, Moise Ekanga, Executive Secretary of the Office for the Coordination and Monitoring of the Sino-Congolese Program explained. “This will bring our energy deficit down,” Ekanga said.
Energy shortages have inhibited investment in Katanga’s mines, which have also been hit by a slump in commodity prices. The slow-down forced Congo’s government last month to slash spending by 22%. Busanga will help expand China Railway and Sinohydro’s so-called Sicomines venture with Congo’s state-owned copper company Gecamines, which is developing a 6.8m metric ton mining project.
As it was earlier reported also by Bloomberg, the venture is part of a $6b minerals-for-infrastructure deal between China and Congo signed in 2007 through which the Sicomines partners finance infrastructure projects in the country in return for mineral rights.