Harare– Updating of feasibility studies for the 2 400 Megawatt Batoka Hydroelectric scheme is now expected to be complete by December this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
Earlier reports had anticipated the studies to be complete by the first quarter of this year. The first feasibility study for the $4 billion project was done in 1993, hence the need for an updated one.
Minister Chinamasa said two types of feasibility studies were being conducted, namely the engineering as well as an environmental and social impact assessment.
“The feasibility updates should be done by December this year,” he said.
Power generated at Batoka will be shared equally between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Zambezi River Authority chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa said there were still some issues still being considered in terms of the environmental assessment.
“We have got the issue of white water rafting. We have had some people talking against building the Batoka but as I indicated there is going to be what we call conjunctive operation between Batoka and the Kariba dam. When the season for white water rafting appears, the waters will be lowered in such a way that the rafters can enjoy the water as much as they can.”
Mr Munodawafa said indications from studies were that no evacuation of settlements or destruction of habitats would occur. The project entails the construction of an 181 meter high, 720 meter long dam and two surface power plants, one on either side of the river bank with capacity to produce 1 200 Megawatts each.
An investors’ conference, to be held in Livingstone, Zambia this week, will give both governments an opportunity to sell the project to potential investors. The project is expected to be completed by 2024.