Mozambique plans to keep shares in Cahora Bassa dam, energy minister says

20 November 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 20 Nov – Mozambique plans to keep the shares it owns in the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric dam (HCB) and has no intention to sell them, according to statements from the country’s energy minister to daily newspaper Notícias.

Quoted in the Friday edition of the newspaper, Salvador Namburete said that the practically bankrupt Zimbabwe electricity company, ZESA had shown interest in acquiring 25 percent of HCB’s shares, and that some Chinese companies had done the same.

Namburete said, however that there was no concrete plan to sell the shares to ZESA, to the Chinese or to anybody.

Even if Mozambique wanted to sell the shares it could not do so as Portugal continues to hold a majority stake in HCB, with 82 percent.

Under the terms of the deal signed on October 31, Mozambique will only own 85 percent of shares in HCB when it pays Portugal the remaining US$750 million, of a total US$950 million agreed for the sale.

There is , according to the minister, an increasing lack of electricity in Southern Africa as investment in sectors that require large amounts of electricity is not being matched by investments in generating electricity.

Therefore Mozambique plans to invest in power generation projects, including construction of the Mpanda Nkua dam, some 70 kilometers downstream of Cahora Bassa and possibly a second hydroelectric plant at Cahora Bassa, on the northern bank of the river.

Mpanda Nkua could produce 1,300 megawatts and the Moatize plant at least 1,000, and possibly 1,800 megawatts. (macauhub)