Kamoa Copper SA and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) state-owned power company, La Société Nationale d’Électricité (SNEL), have extended their existing financial agreement to upgrade Turbine 5 at the Inga II hydropower facility on the Congo River.
The Inga II hydropower plant is located on the Congo River in the southwest of the DRC. At 4,370 kilometres long when measured in conjunction with its largest tributary, the Lualaba River, the Congo River is the world’s second-longest after the Nile and has a flow rate second only to the Amazon. The Congo River features major rapids and waterfalls which have enormous hydroelectric potential.
Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC, a sister company to Kamoa Copper SA, is tasked with delivering reliable, clean renewable hydropower at the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Mine.
The renovation of Inga II’s Turbine 5 will add approximately 162MW of hydropower generation capacity to the plant. When coupled with the 78MW of hydropower from the existing Mwadingusha plant, this will provide Kamoa with priority access to a total of 240MW of clean, renewable energy.
The finance agreement with SNEL was originally signed in connection with the joint restoration of the Mwadingusha hydropower project. As part of that first public-private partnership, five of the six turbines were refurbished. The renovation is financed by Kamo Holdings through a loan to SNEL, which will now be repaid throughout the terms of the loan through deductions of electricity bills incurred.
DRC copper mine aims to be the greenest of them all
Ben Munanga Kamoa Board chairman explained that Kamo is one of the world’s largest and greenest copper producers. “We intend to continue to execute strategic plans to systematically transform Kamoa into a world-class copper producer. We are delighted to extend our partnership with SNEL as we work towards the refurbishment of the Inga II hydropower complex.”
Kamo Copper and SNEL have started a technical evaluation to determine the scope of work and estimate related expenses. Engineering group Voith Hydro has been appointed as a contractor to lead the consortium of equipment manufacturers for the turbine upgrade. The terminal equipment on the Inga-Kolwezi transmission line will be upgraded to improve its transfer capacity by at least 200MW.
Jean-Bosco Kayombo Kayan, SNEL CEO said together with Ivanhoe Mines Energy they are confident the Inga II project will be as successful as their joint Mwadingusha hydroelectric power plant restoration.
“We are eager to have Turbine 5 at Inga II back in operation as soon as possible so that more people in the DRC will have access to electricity and so that the power needs of the Kakula Mine can be met, both now and in the future,” said Kayombo Kayan.