Congo Aerial

The Democratic Republic of the Congo plans to start construction on the dam for the 4,800MW Inga 3 hydroelectric project by the end of next year, or early 2017.

The project has an estimated value of around $12bn and represents the first phase development under the Grand Inga project.

Grand Inga, which has been planned as a hydropower complex across the Congo river, will be the world’s largest once developed.

According to the World Bank estimates, the project is expected to have a capacity to produce 50GW of renewable energy with investments totalling around $80bn.

Construction is likely to be carried out in six phases, with the final phase expected to be completed in 2022.

"The project is in an advanced state. We are in the process of selecting the principal project partners."

The large-scale hydroelectric project has multiple organisations as its stakeholders, reports Global Risk Insights.

Congo Prime Minister Matata Ponyo was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: "The project is in an advanced state.

"We are in the process of selecting the principal project partners."

The country initially expected to start construction works for the project in October but got delayed due to selection process hold-ups.

Lenders for the project include the World Bank, European Investment Bank, and African Development Bank, which had approved around $73m in March 2014 for carrying out the environmental feasibility and social impact studies.

The African country has shortlisted three consortiums for the project, of which one will end up with the development contract.

While one consortium represents Chinese partnership between Sinohydro and China Three Gorges; the second was formed by Spanish firms Actividades de Construccion y Servicio and Eurofinsa. The third shortlisted group includes Posco and Daewoo from South Korea, along with Canadian SNC-Lavalin Group.

Image: Aerial view of the Congo river. Photo: courtesy of MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani / Wikipedia.