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Liberia: impact assessment concluded for 120MW hydro project

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded a meeting with residents of Grand Bassa and Bong Counties on the environmental and social impact of the construction of a 120MW Hydropower Dam.

It has been concluded that the dam, which will be constructed over St. John River, will negatively impact several communities, burial fields and crop fields.

The meeting, which was held in District # 3 C, Grand Bassa County on Thursday, April 6, 2016 on behalf of Chinese firm HydroChina, attracted representatives from the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy, Liberia Maritime Authority, Forestry Development Authority, (FDA), Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Bong and Grand Bassa Legislative Caucuses and local authorities, Front Page Africa reported.

HydroChina was invited by the Government of Liberia to work with Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to develop hydropower in an effort to increase power generation in the country, P. Nanlee Johnson, Energy Analyst at the Ministry of Land Mines and Energy disclosed.

Johnson said the Chinese firm was invited based on the National Electricity Law of 2015, which removed LEC’s monopoly over the energy sector, due to its inability to provide a sufficient power supply, Front Page Africa reported.

Impact assessment to effect communities

Johnson is optimistic that this project will help government achieve its 35% electricity access by 2030, as provided for in the country’s Energy Policy.  

Front Page Africa noted that the Assistant Manager of EPA’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Unit, Aloysius K. Kotee said that HydroChina has applied for a permit to construct and operate the dam in order to provide affordable and uninterrupted electricity for Bong, Grand Bassa and other areas in the country.

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment was done on behalf of HydroChina by Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC), one of the 11 groups trained by the EPA to carryout environmental assessment, Kotee disclosed. Read more…

Following procedure

According to EPA Deputy Executive Director General, Urias S. Goll, those effected during the construction phase will receive compensation for their damaged crops and resettlement.

John C. Nylander, a Consultant with NRDC said that three towns (Ceegar Town, Weagon Town, and Rufus Kamei Town) would be evicted, while several crops would be destroyed to give way to the construction of the hydropower dam, media reported.

In addition, Nylander, a Chemist and former Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Land Mines and Energy said some sacred sites will be relocated.

He added that when completed the dam, which would be bigger than the Mount Coffee Hydro Dam (88MW) will provide affordable and stable electricity to Bong, Grand Bassa and other counties in Liberia. Read more…


Featured image: hydropower_e2tech.org

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.