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Mozambique’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME), represented by the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project Implementation Office (GMNK), on December 13 launched in Maputo the tender for the selection of the strategic investor for the development of the Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project.
Almost two months later, GMNK says there is great interest in investing in the project on the part of large companies.
The process of submitting proposals by companies interested in investing in the Mphanda Nkuwa project should have ended on February 28, but, 42 days after the launch of the tender, the GMNK decided to extend the deadline to March 31.
Asked about the reasons for the extension of the deadline, GMNK director general Carlos Yum explained that the institution had extended the period to allow interested companies to fulfil all the requirements set out in the specification.
Yum suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Omicron variant in particular, might have affected the process by delaying the submission of proposals by some companies.
“In short, the extension aims to guarantee the competitiveness and attractiveness of companies. In fact, it would be unfortunate to leave out, for example, seven large companies that are still waiting for the approval of the proposals,” Yum explained.
Asked to evaluate the submission of proposals, Yum said that the process was going well.
“During those days, there was a greater interest on the part of large companies in investing in the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project. I cannot advance numbers of companies that compete, as the process is still running. But I assure you there will be more interest,” Yum said.
The director general of GMNK said that the extension of the deadline would not delay subsequent phases, and that, in April, once the period for expressions of interest is over, the GMNK would go ahead with the investor selection process.
After the selection process, an agreement for the development of Mphanda Nkuwa will be signed between the investor and the companies Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), which represent the public sector in the project.
Conceived in 2008 and relaunched by President Filipe Nyusi in 2018, the Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project has since last May seen the updating of feasibility studies, and after almost half a year, the government must now find an investor with the ability to inject between US$500 to 600 million and, together with the EDM and HCB, see the project through to completion.
The Mpanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project will be installed about 60 km downstream from Cabora Bassa Hydroelectric (HCB), in Tete province.
The hydro-electric element will have an installed capacity of 1300 to 1500 Megawatts. Financial close, valued at US$3.5 to 4 billion, is scheduled for 2024, after which construction will commence, expected to take six to seven years.
By Evaristo Chilingue