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Sunday, July 5, 2020

South African firm in discussions to construct a $ 1.2 billion hydro-power plant on Luangwa River

Economy South African firm in discussions to construct a $ 1.2...

L to R: Mr. Mande Kauseni, First Secretary for Economics & Trade at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria; Mr. John Nutt of Delf Consulting Engineers; Mr. Alfred Mwila,  Energy Regulation Board Director for Economic Regulation; Technical Leader from MDH (Pty) Ltd of South Africa; Mr. Wallace Chitungu, ERB Legal Counsel; Mr. Zander van der Walt, Project Director of MDH and Mr. Joseph Malama, Senior Manager for Technical Regulation, and Mr. Maka Sikazwe, Senior Manager Executive Directors Office at ERB.
L to R: Mr. Mande Kauseni, First Secretary for Economics & Trade at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria; Mr. John Nutt of Delf Consulting Engineers; Mr. Alfred Mwila, Energy Regulation Board Director for Economic Regulation; Technical Leader from MDH (Pty) Ltd of South Africa; Mr. Wallace Chitungu, ERB Legal Counsel; Mr. Zander van der Walt, Project Director of MDH and Mr. Joseph Malama, Senior Manager for Technical Regulation, and Mr. Maka Sikazwe, Senior Manager Executive Directors Office at ERB.
A delegation from MDH South Africa (Pty) Limited is in Zambia to marshal support from relevant government departments and agencies for an ambitious power project that has been proposed on the Luangwa River in the Eastern Province.

The delegation comprises MDH Project Director Mr. Zander Van Der Walt, and Technical Leader Mr. John Nutt of Delf Consulting Engineers. They are accompanied by First Secretary in Charge of Trade and Economics at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, Mr. Mande Kauseni. The trip to Zambia follows recent high level engagements between Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba and MDH officials in Pretoria.

MDH South Africa has proposed what they are calling the Ndevu Gorge Power Project which is planned on the Luangwa River with a generation capacity of 235 Mega Watts. 

Mr. Van de Walt is impressed with the support that has been pledged by Zambian authorities from the meetings held in Lusaka so far. He has indicated that his company was ready to start feasibility studies in a couple of weeks once authority was granted.

According to Mr. Van der Walt, the meetings were all exceptionally positive with support from all ministries and agencies engaged. 

The company has since made an application for ‘Authority to Proceed with Feasibility’ through Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary, Brigadier General Emelda Chola. 

The delegation has held meetings with officials from the Office for Promotion of Private Power Investments (OPPPI) and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) while further engagements are planned with ZESCO, the Water Resources Management Agency (WARMA) and ZCCM-IH, before the delegation which has been in Lusaka the whole of this week, returns to South Africa today.

Head of the OPPPI Mr. Clement Sasa, hailed the project pointing out that it could be possible to plan the route of the new regional transmission interconnector between Mozambique and Zambia in such a manner that it incorporated the Ndevu Gorge Hydro Power plant so as to assist with evacuation of power from the plant. 

ERB Director for Economic Regulation Mr. Alfred Mwila said his institution was in support of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as a strategy to alleviate Zambia’s current energy deficit. 

Mr. Mwila confirmed that the ERB’s investigation into the establishment of a “Wheeling Policy”, whereby IPP’s can “wheel” power over the ZESCO network to other off-takers (other than ZESCO) was ongoing and the first reports in this regard were expected in April 2018; which was well within MDH’s proposed feasibility process period.

Mr. Van der Walt reiterated that although MDH’s would be the anchor developer of hydro power project, which would be the catalytic activity for the establishment of Lake Ndevu, all relevant government departments and agencies together with selected private sector stakeholders were invited to form part of a larger planning committee to establish a master plan for incorporating the developmental and commercial opportunities the lake would bring. 

“It is critical that local communities are the primary beneficiaries of such developments. We would, therefore, like to invite the Government of Zambia to walk with us down this road to establish this project as a beacon of hope in illustrating the nexus of commercial opportunities for private capital, with the social and economic advancement of local communities that benefit through sustainable jobs, as well as entrepreneurial opportunities – all in all, inclusive and sustainable economic development.”

Mr. van der Walt further confirmed that discussions with investors were positive and ongoing and was expecting to conclude feasibility funding negotiations soon after the ‘Authority to Proceed with Feasibility’ from the Ministry of Energy was issued.

The Ndevu Gorge Hydro Power project is a proposed 235MW power project based on the build of a double curvature dam wall on the Luangwa River creating a large lake of 165 kilometres in length and 17 kilometres in width, at its widest point.

The initial cost projection for the construction of the project is US$1.26 billion, however this figure could change during the feasibility phase as the design aspects are finalised. 

The project is planned as a “multi-use” asset, which apart from the hydro power capacity, will also allow for primary irrigation-based agriculture around the lake. This access to irrigation coupled with the careful planning of the relevant agricultural crops could have a transformative economic development effect on an area that has been largely devoid of social and economic developmental activity.
The lake further offers aquaculture development opportunities, especially Tilapia and Kapenta. It is also foreseeable that the creation of a lake in such a pristine natural area would catalyse a multitude of tourism based opportunities including hotels and lodges, as well as lake-based activities such as Tiger fishing. The additional water should also have a positive effect on conservation activities of the area and this is specifically included in the planning phases of the project.

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  1. South Africa knows nothing about hydro electricity. Its better to ask the Congolese because inga the joint project they are in with South Africa has stalled for ten years

    • Until one is fully aware of what the actual reasons for the delays on the Congolese Hydro Project, one cannot say that South Africa knows nothing about Hydro Electric projects. The delay could be from the Governments side, Conservation Loby, local population disputes, etc.
      South Africa has its own Hydro Electric plants on the Orange River, as well as many other smaller ones, and constructed the Lesotho Highlands Hydro Electric Scheme.

    • Nguzu, how can you make such a derogatory statement about them being con men? Do you know anything about the individuals who are proposing the project. Do you know anything about their history that you can be so presumptuous as to make such a negative statement about their character.
      I would suggest that you do some homework before you make any more unnecessary and unqualified statements.
      I am aware that at least 5 of their directors are men of active religious faith and moral principles, and well respected in their communities.

    • The project is going into feasibility studies, that is where all issues and answers are to be considered. Hold your horses. If successful, this is a great project. Iam not PF but I fully support such developmental projects.

    • I agree with your comments about the Luangwa River being muddy and that soil erosion is a big concern contributing to the problem. Deforestation and planting of crops close to the river as well as on steep sloppes need to be controlled by the Government in order to stop the silting up of any lake that receives this water. Already the tail end of Cahora Bassa Lake is silting up as a direct consequence of silt and sand coming down the Luangwa. Kariba prevents any silt from coming downstream so the problem is basically caused by the Luangwa River.
      If this silting is not brought under control it becomes a major problem for any Hydro Electric scheme it gradually reduces the water storage capacity of the lake over the years as more soil takes up water space. It could result in a multi…

    • A multi billion dollar project could become less economically feasible over the years as the catchment area soil erosion could cause lost water storage capacity within the lake, due to all the silt gradually replacing the water volume.
      There are various ways of bringing silting under control, such as Goverment legislation, training and enforcement of contours on any agricultural land. Certain high risk areas for erosion within the catchment area, such as on slopes and close to the rivers can be prohibited from any agriculture or deforestation. Nature reserves can be declared over these high risk areas so as to maintain their pristine conditions and prevent erosion.

    • There are five more people in the picture frames. He started naming the ones in the picture frames then he got tired. Like me he has had enough for the week. Give him credit he has done well to get here.

  2. Watch out Zambia. South African companies bring in all their relatives to work and leave very little for the locals. We have seen what is happening at Mopani’s Murray and Roberts. They even bring men with artificial limbs to come and work here. Indeed we may benefit from the power. The only Zambian employees who will benefit will be labourers

    • George, if the Zambians have the relevant skills and experienced personnel then they will be used for the work, but if they are not capable of doing the work at the required standards obviously the company will outsource in order to maintain the legal standards. One cannot afford to have any errors in such a massive project as this.
      The project does afford Zambians with the necessary qualifications, but who lack experience, the opportunity to learn multiple skills from the project if they “piggy back” on the backs of those working on the project who already have the requisite skills.

  3. @George, ati without limbs, some have only one eye. A simple disability will disqualify a ZAMBIAN. You’ll tu HR running up and down to ensure you’re out just because you’ve one left finger missing but will not notice a missing leg on a foreigner.

    • Indeed Ndanje these are facts. The qualifications of these charlies also leave much to be desired. Their commonest qualification is a blasting license. Its pathetic. I don’t think a Zambian with dubious qualification or indeed an amputee will be offered a job in down south. Let’s watch out our local skills are being off loaded to the streets yet being taken over by unscrupulous qualified charlies from down south.

    • One has to recruit workers within the ambit of Labour legislation, Safety regulations, Contractual agreements with Government and Equal Opportunity guidelines.
      Remember that the Hydro Electric Projects will create a lot more work opportunities than just Dam buildings.
      Tourism, fishing, agriculture, shops, sports, entertainment, conservation, road and pylon maintainance, potable water supply, just to name a few.

  4. Can’t find them when i google their name. Can anyone help. Government must have researched first.
    There is a sandblasting co in sth africa with thar name. Interesting

  5. So much verbiage and jargon in this report. But when you strip it down to plain English and its bare points and analyse them, it comes down to this:-
    MDH are offering to be the captain in this Ndevu Hydropower project proposal.
    *Qn:- Do they have any known competence and track record in hydropower generation, or Dam construction this size and the dynamics therein (like operation Noah at Kariba Dam)?
    Ans:- No they do not.
    *Qn:- Who is MDH and what competencies and track record are they known for?
    Ans:- MDH is a family business mainly in Cattle (Beef) Ranching in Australia.
    Qn:- What else are MDH known for?
    Ans:- MDH Sand blasting and spray painting in South Africa, MDH Stone crushing in Namibia, MDH Engineered Solutions Corp – provider of Engineers-Environmental category…

    • Cont’d … category products/services in Canada. (Caution:- MDH Engineered Solutions Corp Canada were sanctioned by African Development Bank ADB for involvement in ‘sanctionable Practices’. Period of sanction 30/04/2013 to 17/04/2023).
      So, the big question is:- How could PF Govt pass such an applicant with such a CV through the pre-qualification stage?? So now MDH, with no competence and no track record of similar accomplishments, is now a strong contender to become Captain of this huge important project????. That is this???

  6. MDH – Those are the best Investors Emmanuel Mwamba can marshal. They are more of fake investors without any track record in hydro technology. Can someone ask Mwamba where he got them from – cos they’re as dubious as Mwamba himself.
    We still remember the fake investors in the 80s that fo.oled the Kaunda government when they claimed to have the technology to produce Oil from grass around Luangwa river again. Greedy politicians including Reuben Kamanga, Grey Zulu etc bought thousands of hectares in Luangwa using borrowed funds hoping to make a killing when “Oil” production was going to start. It never came to pass and the rest is history!

  7. Last i checked ECL said why should we construct power stations when we can just import power from south africa which has an excess power..and now a south african company wants to build a power plant here..uuummmm????

    • South Africa has a major shortage of Electrical power for her own needs and has had continuous black outs over the last few years. They cannot do proper maintainance of their power stations because they do not have enough surplus power to be able to shut down some stations for maintainance.

  8. Typical PF falsehoods. Fake investors. Sadly, ERB has no expertise in analysing energy projects. They are only good at throwing legal impediments at anybody with a great idea to make serious economic contributions to Zambia. I recall last year when I went to ERB with a proposal which was going to lead Fuel being landed into Livingstone to cost K8.00 per liter! The ERB guy told me to my face that it was impossible because of his own middlemen! He was throwing all sorts of legal requirements instead of placing forward the needs of the Zambian fuel consumer! What is more important: The needs of the Zambian consumer, or the needs of the Zambian laws. Are Zambians to be slaves to the laws or vice versa?

  9. It sounds to be a good project to me coz it is a multipurpose idea,this will be one big procject which can create jobs and contribute to the GDP.

  10. I didnt know there was a Trade Secretary in that Embassy as I am surprised the crook Mwamba is not present in the photo with such figures being mentioned.

  11. We dont need such a project that is going to disperse wildlife and people…if they are really interested in investing why can they not invest in renewable energy like solar.
    You simply can not trust a cook in a suit like Mwamba and his contacts!!

    • Jay Jay, Conservation is very high on my priority list and when I see Protected Forests in Zambia being decimated and turned into agricultural land because there is no will on the part of the authorities to enforce legislation, and when I see Zambian Game Reserves that are nearly empty of big game because poaching goes on unabated without adequate law enforcement, my heart bleeds for the future of their wild life.
      One of the things that MDH S.A. (Pty. Ltd.) is looking at with the Proposed dams is to have designated Wild Life Corridors on both sides of the lakes linking two already established game reserves, for future tourist development projects as well as to prevent soil erosion into the lakes. They are also looking at electric game fencing to separate animals from locals so as to…

    • The electric game fencing will stop human / animal conflicts with crop damage, attacks and poaching. They are also looking at having a highly sophisticated poaching prevention program with aircraft, helicopters, drones, trucks, motor cycles and foot patrols with highly trained armed pararangers for quick air and land deployment, night vision scanners, infra red beams, vibration sensors, cameras, and access controls.
      These will ensure the sustainability of the wild life and tourist industry.

  12. This wont go anywhere, South Africa sabotaged poor Botswana’s hydro plant. South Africa wants to remain the powerhouse so the project wont take off.

    • Aristide, On what sound basis do you make your speculative statement? Just because the Botswana project didn’t get off the ground, doesn’t mean that other projects won’t happen. MDH S.A. (Pty. Ltd.) is not affiliated with ESKOM. It is a private entity. The descisions are made between MDH SA and the Zambian Government, period.

  13. So are these guys also going to finance the project? If not, why are we single sourcing consultancy work? Everybody is creating projects from nowhere which are inflated with commissions and kickbacks for this and that. The amount of power (235MW) to be generated does not warrant disruption to the fragile Luangwa ecosystem. Since this is one of the hottest parts of he country, consideration should have been given to solar power generation. But they are all just creating fake projects and eating and eating.

    • Ha Folosho, financing on such a large project usually come from various sources and only after all relevant documentation has been submitted. Once the Zambian Government has given the go ahead from all the Government Departments in writing, then the finances will be sought for the various phases. Currently MDH SA has an interested party that could possibly finance the whole project, but this is only one of many possible finance opportunities that are being looked at.
      To make a statement insinuating that all projects are inflated is speculative at its best. There is nothing stopping anyone else from submitting financial proposals if you think that prices are inflated, that is what free enterprise is all about, cost competition, but when your costing fails to meet the required costs of…

    • Ba Folosho, when your costing fails to meet the required costs of the project because you undercut so much that you can’t complete the project, you are the one who ends up with jam on your face, and bankruptcy. Business which generates all the worlds economies is about making profit, while charities are non-profit social programs. It is only businesses which generate enough profit to pay for the capital costs of development projects like Hydro electricity that can actually lift people’s standard of living.

  14. Hope they won’t be doing nothing more than just stealing antelopes in Luangwa South National Park!!-

    • Kweshoni, if all goes according to plan there will be breeding programs to increase endangered species numbers, as well as a highly sophisticated anti poaching program to catch poachers and protect the animals.
      I am glad to see that there are good citizens like you who care about Africa’s wildlife. If only we could convert more people out there to the protection and sustaining of our wild life heritage. I have no problem with exploiting our wild life as long as it is sustainable. Unfortunately poachers don’t care about laws that protect the sustainability of our wild life.

  15. @Stuart good observation. Luangwa can be problematic being a flush river! Points noted and I hope these problems can be considered before taking this high risk project!

    • Haile, South Africa doesn’t have enough power for her own current electrical needs and not enough to expand her economy.

    • You can’t get the message? Your president told us just recently we can just import power from SA

  16. Same as sth african co supplying 50mw of solar power. No website no profile nothing heard after major announcement.
    We get makor announcements daily but usually for something that will take ti 2020 to happen. Is this politicking.

  17. Stuart sounds like a House nigger defending these mabunu from south Africa at every turn. He even uses religion to defend them just like the coloniser did when stealing our land. Let them build their own power station in Xenophobia

  18. Eshi, you sound like you are a major victim of Mugabe’s racist propaganda machine, and look where that has got him and his country, total economic collapse.
    It is great to know that Zambia has a mass of wonderful respectful and friendly people, and that there are only few rude and hatred riddled individuals like yourself. You should go and live Mugabe. The world does not need your kind of negative hatred filled thinking. There is more than enough hatred in this world without your kind contributing more hatred.

    • I don’t think there is any issue with wildlife that is managesble. I was a bit mixed up as one article mentioned Mozambique flooding. Was a dum write up by some stuped reporter I know the river and could not imagine any gourge that could be used. But I know the ndevu gourge. A good site. Regards investinzambia.com

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