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IDG eyes Congo hydro dam

Congo’s energy ministry says the govt supported IDG’s interest.

BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) – South Africa’s Industrial Development Group said on Monday it was studying financing for the construction of a 1,200 megawatt hydroelectric dam it wants to build in Congo Republic.

If it goes forward, the Sounda project would make energy-deficient Congo a regional power exporter, though previous efforts to build the dam, dating back decades, have been derailed by political instability.

“Technically, we are ready,” IDG’s chief executive Mxolisi Mbetse told reporters after a meeting with Congolese government energy officials. “I will now leave things to our finance department and by June or July you will see lots of activity here in Congo.”

Sources at Congo’s energy ministry said the government supported IDG’s interest and that no other companies were seeking to build the dam, on the Sounda Gorge some 140 kilometres (85 miles) north of Point Noire.

The project has been on the books since Congo’s first president, Fulbert Youlou, was in power in the 1960s, but has been repeatedly derailed since by political instability including a series of coups and a civil war.

Congo generates only enough electricity to supply about 45 percent of demand in urban areas, and 5 percent in rural areas.

IDG is a black-owned diversified industrial group focused on identifying and developing greenfield energy and mining projects in Africa, according to its Web site.

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