Sierra Leone study begins of expanding 50-MW Bumbuna to 389 MW

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone 12/1/11 (PennWell) -- Developer Joule Africa announced that Lahmeyer International has begun a bankable feasibility study of expanding Sierra Leone's 50-MW Bumbuna hydroelectric project to a total of 389 MW.

Joule Africa, an American-British unit of Joule Investments Group of the U.S.,signed a US$750 million agreement with the Sierra Leone government in May under which the developer is to carry out Phase 2 of Bumbuna, expanding the project on the Seli River, 250 kilometers from Freetown.

Joule Africa said Lahmeyer of Germany and CENMATS of Sierra Leone are undertaking a full environmental and social impact study of proposed dam sites. They are to perform hydrological studies, a topographical survey, an aerial survey, geotechnical studies, and design work. The work, which began a month ahead of schedule, is to be completed by October 2012.

Started in 1975, the first phase of Bumbuna was 85 percent complete when stalled for years by civil war. It was completed in 2009.

The development of the second phase of Bumbuna with the government of Sierra Leone is Joule Africa's first major project in the region. The developer was established to develop hydroelectric projects in sub-Saharan Africa, with initial focus on western and central Africa.

"We are very pleased at the significant progress the company has made to date and we are still very much on track to deliver this project of vital national importance on time, hoping to commence construction in 2013 and achieve project completion by 2017," Joule Africa Managing Partner Andrew Cavanaugh said November 22.

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