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Zambian power project expects delays

Kafue Gorge river 
3 December 2008 – The long awaited Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower station will be delayed, says Saleem Karimjee of the International Finance Corporation, because of a change to the proposed site of the power station and the ongoing global financial crisis.

"Our team has … discovered that the site that has been planned for a long time is technically more complex than the site which is a few hundred metres down stream, (which) has now been selected and agreed upon," he told journalists on his return from Zambia.  He said further that geotechnical works can only begin once the rainy season had come to end in March or April and this has also contributed to the delay of a few months.

A further potential delay for the US$1.5 billion project is the expectation that some of the proposed investors may pull out of the scheme due to the current global economic environment.

"Given the fact that some of these (firms) are international companies that would have more obligations elsewhere that become more pressing given the financial crisis, (we expect that) one or two would drop out, but we still see keen interest from the parties," he concluded.