Batoka feasibility studies to be ready by year-end

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.

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