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Zambia, Chinese firms to build 600-MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower plant

Zambia has signed an agreement with two Chinese companies to build the 600-MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower plant, government officials in Zambia said.

China Development Bank will provide an initial loan of $1 billion to a joint venture company to be formed by Zesco Corp., Zambia's power utility, together with China Africa Development Fund and Sino Hydro, wire services reported.

Kafue Gorge Lower hydro plant is expected to cost about $1.5 billion, according to reports. Construction of the hydro plant is projected to start in April 2011, with the project's completion planned for 2017.

In other news, the European Investment Bank confirmed it has stopped funding environmental and social impact studies for the Gibe III hydroelectric power project in Ethiopia, as the Ethiopian government has found alternative sources of finance.

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