Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
A SEVEN-member delegation from China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), the main subsidiary of State-owned Energy China, will visit Harare to meet President Mnangagwa and Government officials, over the firm’s interest to be awarded the contract to build the 2 200 megawatts Batoka hydro-power project.
The Batoka hydro-power project is being jointly developed by Zimbabwe and Zambia at Batoka Gorge on the mighty Zambezi River, downstream of two other major hydro-power stations built by the two neighbouring countries either side of Kariba Dam.
CGGC chief representative in Harare Zhang Jiafeng told The Herald Business on Tuesday that the Chinese delegation was expected to arrive in Harare yesterday ahead of their scheduled meeting with President Mnangagwa between the 8th and 10th of this month.
Mr Jianfeng said the latest visit will be the fourth time senior officials from the company will meet President Mnangagwa this year, as the leading Chinese renewable energy company moves to demonstrate its strong interest to secure the contract to undertake the construction of the Batoka hydro-power project.
The delegation, led by CGGC deputy president Chen Xiaohua and China Three Gorges Corporation subsidiary – China Water and Electricity Company (CWE) – vice president Shouguo Jiang, will also meet Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube and Energy and Power Development Minister Jorum Gumbo.
“At the end of this week, our delegation will arrive from China; it is a seven-member delegation. Also on the delegation are (senior) officials from CWE (China Water and Electricity Company). They are coming here to express their interest in the Batoka Project, which other Chinese companies such as Power China, have been following.
“After seeing the President, the delegation will also meet with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Energy to talk about Batoka. The Zimbabwe Government wants to choose the best partner and as CGGC, we do not want to miss this opportunity,” he said.
Mr Jianfeng said the delegation headed to Zimbabwe included officials from CWE, a unit of China Three Gorges Corporation, which owns the world’s largest hydro-power plant, Three Gorges in China.
He said that CWE’s experience, from its involvement in the successful development of the mighty Three Gorges hydro-power project, which has water storage capacity of 1,58 billion cubic metres and built on the world’s third longest River, Yangtze, will be invaluable should CGGC be selected to develop Batoka.
CGGC built 70 percent of the Three Gorges Project, the world’s largest water conservation project, while Sino Hydro, which owns Power China, shortlisted for RioZim’s Sengwa thermal project, completed the balance of 30 percent of the project works, which were done about 15 years ago. CGGC says it has completed over 5 000 pieces of outstanding engineering works across the world.
CGGC specialises in design, construction, investment and operation in the fields of water conservation, hydro-power, thermal power, nuclear power, wind energy, power transmission and transformation, highways, railways, bridges, airports, ports, waterways, industrial and civil architecture among others.
Zimbabwe has been facing perennial shortage of power with current production capacity averaging 1 400MW against demand for power at peak periods of 1 600MW. Due to supply shortage, despite recent completion of 300MW extension of the 750MW Kariba South Power Station, the country spends up to US$10 million to import power and close the internal power supply deficit.