Kamoa Copper’s CEO Mark Farren and Chairman of the Board Ben Munanga have announced that Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC – a sister company of Kamoa Copper S.A. tasked with delivering reliable, clean, renewable hydropower to the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Mine – has extended its existing financing agreement under a public-private partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned power company, La Société Nationale d’ Électricité (SNEL), to upgrade turbine 5, a major turbine in the existing Inga II hydropower facility on the Congo River.
The renovation of Inga II’s Turbine 5 will add an estimated 162 megawatts (MW) of hydropower generation capacity. When coupled with the 78 MW of hydropower from the existing Mwadingusha plant, this will provide Kamoa with priority access to a total of 240 MW of clean, renewable electricity.
The finance agreement with SNEL was initially signed in connection with the joint restoration of the Mwadingusha hydropower project as part of the first public-private partnership, where five of the six turbines have already been refurbished. The renovation is financed by Kamoa Holdings through a loan to SNEL, which will be repaid throughout the term of the loan by deductions from the electricity bills incurred.
Chairman of the Board at Kamoa, Ben Munanga, stated: “
Kamoa is one of the world’s largest and greenest copper producers and we intend to continue to execute strategic plans to systematically transform Kamoa into a world-class copper producer. We are delighted to extend our partnership with SNEL as we work towards the refurbishment of the Inga II hydropower complex.”
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Kamoa Copper and SNEL have begun a technical evaluation to determine the scope of work and estimate related expenses. This is being conducted together with Voith Hydro, a leading engineering group appointed as the contractor to lead the consortium of equipment manufacturers for the turbine upgrade. Additionally, the terminal equipment on the Inga-Kolwezi transmission line will be upgraded to improve its transfer capacity by at least 200 MW.
Jean-Bosco Kayombo Kayan, CEO of SNEL, added:
“SNEL and Ivanhoe Mines Energy are confident that the Inga II project will be every bit as successful as our joint Mwadingusha hydroelectric power plant restoration. We are eager to have Turbine 5 at Inga II back in operation as soon as possible so that more people in the DRC will have access to electricity and so that the power needs of the Kakula Mine can be met, both now and into the future.”
The Inga II hydropower plant is located on the Congo River in the southwest of the DRC. At some 4,370 kilometres long when measured in conjunction with the Lualaba, its largest tributary, the Congo River is the world’s second-longest after the Nile and has a flow rate second only to the Amazon. The Congo River features major rapids and waterfalls which have enormous hydroelectric potential.