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MagEnergy Inc., a unit of MagIndustries Corp, announced the signing of an agreement to develop the Busanga Hydroelectric site on the Lualaba River in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Agreement was concluded with the Ministry of Energy and follows the appointment of MagEnergy as an Independent Power Producer (IPP) in the DRC. The agreement is in line with the continuing support of the government of DRC for establishing Public Private Partnerships in the framework of developing the countries energy resources.
The Busanga hydro site has been the subject of previous technical studies and the site is expected to support the production of between 300 and 350 megawatts of electricity. MagEnergy will initially collect and review existing technical studies before proceeding with its own feasibility work. The feasibility is expected to include civil engineering, hydro mechanical, electrical equipment and environmental impact. Assuming a positive feasibility study, MagEnergy intends to proceed to project financing of the Busanga site by the second quarter of 2007.
MagEnergy intends to build, own and operate Busanga as an IPP which will allow for the direct negotiation and sale of electricity to end users. MagEnergy would utilize the transmission grid of Societe Nationale d'Electricite (SNEL), the electric utility of the DRC, with whom the Company will maintain an ongoing dialogue during development and operation. Busanga lies about 65km north of Kolwezi in DRC's Katanga Province where numerous copper development projects are expected to require up to 500MW of new electrical power in the next 6 years. (see location map below)
Additional electrical requirements for the copper belt and for the expanding economy of the DRC will come from Inga II where an existing partnership between MagEnergy and SNEL is proceeding with the refurbishment and rehabilitation of five (off line) turbines. This Public Private Partnership (PPP) was the first project of its kind in the energy sector in the region.
INGA has a total capacity of 1774 megawatts (MW) of which INGA I represents 350MW and INGA II, 1424MW however only some 500MW is presently being generated. MagEnergy's PPP will increase the power output of INGA II by 850MW while ensuring a continuous and reliable energy supply. The Inga site, if fully realized by Inga III and Grand Inga would constitute the world's largest hydro-electric facility.
The completed Inga PPP Project and Busanga development will not only have a major impact on growing energy demands within the DRC but also in the greater southern African region. This is particularly important in South Africa where energy shortages are a real concern today. The above hydroelectric projects will consolidate MagEnergy's growing position in the increasingly critical African energy sector.
News date: 18/05/2006