EXCLUSIVE: Sinohdro Breaks Ground For $1.6bn Karuma Dam

see geneva;”>The letter of authorization was issued on July 3, more about 2013 by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary Kabagambe Kaliisa to Mr Zha Rui, the authorized representative of Sinohdro Corporation in China.

“Reference is made to your letter dated June 28, 2013 by which you requested for permission to access the project site to set up temporary facilities and carry out site investigations and surveys,” said Kabagambe in a letter seen by Chimpreports on Thursday, July 4.

“This is to grant your company temporary access to the project site to enable you carry out investigations and surveys to facilitate the securing of funds for the project,” he added.

Signboard installed at the site

Kabagambe urged Sinohdro to “expedite the delivery to the government of Uganda the confirmation support of your company by government of China and the EXIM Bank of China to avail funds for the project under the bilateral arrangement between the two countries.”

Chimpreports has established the Chinese firm has already started work with clearing bushes and carrying out surveys.

New access road

Sinohydro had promised to commence work on site at Karuma within two weeks after the signing of the agreement “thereby ensuring that the delivering of power consequently commences at the earliest possible date and without any further delays.”

Energy Minister Irene Muloni and chairman Sinohydro, Mr Zhand Yunli on June 20 signed the $1.6bn agreement, ending years of wrangling among rival companies and jostling in corridors of power over the contract for the dam’s construction

Government described the deal as a “milestone agreement for cooperation between Uganda and China.”

Local employees clearing the grass and bushes

The Inspector General of Government (IGG) had blocked the Energy Ministry’s move to award the contract to China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), citing the firm’s falsification of information during the bidding process.

In addition to the formal cancellation of the tender process by the Ministry of Energy, at the BRICS Summit Meeting in Durban, President Museveni and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed that China and Uganda would purse bilateral cooperation on the Karuma Dam Project.

Government said the selection of the dam “ensures that Karuma Project commences generation of power as soon as possible and the generation and transmission of this power results in a successful conclusion of this very important project for the economic and social development of Uganda which will be done by Sinohydro at price levels compatible with the government budgetary estimates which are at the level of $1.65bn for both the power plant and the transmission lines.”

That figure includes the cost needed to build a transmission line from Karuma to a location where the power will be integrated into the national power grid.

Grant to access the Site

The Power Station will be located at Karuma, on the Victoria Nile, at the present location of the Karuma Falls, adjacent to the location where the Masindi-Gulu Highway, crosses the river Nile.

Sinohydro Corporation is the world’s largest contractor of hydroelectric projects participating in 50 percent of all the current large-scale hydropower projects globally today.

The company is 100 percent owned by the government of China and recognised by the Ministry of Commerce in China as the country’s leading hydropower contractor and one of its leaders in overseas contracting as part of the government of China’s “Going Global’ strategy.

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