May 31, 2016

Construction of world’s largest dam to commence within months

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The first phase of the seven-stage Grand Inga project — a proposed hydropower scheme along the Congo River —  could go ahead in the...

The first phase of the seven-stage Grand Inga project — a proposed hydropower scheme along the Congo River —  could go ahead in the next few months, despite concerns over funding and social and environmental impacts.

The Inga 3 dam, valued at US $14 billion, will span one channel of the Congo River at Inga Falls and will feature a 4,800MW hydro-electric plant. Once complete, the dam will be the largest in the world and could begin generating electricity within the next five years.

In total, Grand Inga comes with a price tag of US $100 billion and stands to produce up to 40,000 MW of electricity — more than a third of the total electricity currently being produced in Africa.

Proponents of the project claim it could eventually provide over 40 percent of Africa’s electricity. However, it is believed that as many as 35,000 people could be displaced during the construction process, which could also have dire consequences for the river’s fish populations.

Peter Bosshard, the Interim Director of the US-based International Rivers NGO, has warned that the Congolese government does not intend to carry out social or environmental impact assessments before construction begins.

In fact, the Congolese government is fast-tracking construction of the Inga 3 in order to fulfil a contract which has promised the South African government 2,500MW of electricity from the dam by 2021.

Two of China’s largest dam builders are expected to start construction by August.

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Photo courtesy of International Rivers

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