- The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC’s) has announced that Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group will develop the Grand Inga hydroelectric power project.
- However, Australia’s Fortescue confirmed it was in talks with Congo to develop a series of dams that could become the world’s largest hydroelectric project, but it said no formal binding agreement had been concluded. Read official response here
Fortescue’s involvement is the latest twist in Congo’s decades-long quest to expand Inga, whose two existing dams – completed in 1972 and 1982 – have a combined installed capacity of nearly 1,800 MW.
The proposed expansion of six more dams would bring capacity to over 40,000 MW, roughly double the size of China’s Three Gorges dam, currently the world’s largest. Total development costs have been estimated at up to USD 80 billion.
In August last year, a Chinese consortium that includes China Three Gorges Corporation and a Spanish consortium that includes AEE Power was confirmed at lead developer of the third dam, known as Inga 3. Read more
Ground has yet to be broken on Inga 3 because of questions over its financial viability. Alexy Kayembe De Bampende, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s top infrastructure advisor, said the project would now be led by Fortescue.
“Fortescue will be the sole operator for the entire Grand Inga (3 to 8). Chinese & co are welcome to join Fortescue,” he told Reuters.”There has been discussion between Chinese (Three Gorges) & AEE and (Fortescue) since last year to work together.”
Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest met Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on the weekend to discuss the project. Forrest said Fortescue would use the energy from Inga to produce hydrogen to export around the world.
Related news: Germany eyes hydrogen from Grand Inga 3 project
Author: Bryan Groenendaal