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Government to borrow $17 million for Kapichira plant

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Werani Chilenga

The government intends to borrow $17 million from the World Bank to put up a temporary cofferdam at Kapichira Hydropower plant.

Part of the funds would be used for construction of an intake structure for the Shire Valley Transformation Project (SVTP).

The development comes after the government borrowed $44.7 million from the Bretton Woods institution to restore operations and increase resilience at the facility.

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A cofferdam is a watertight enclosure pumped dry to permit construction work below the waterline.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy Alfonso Chikuni said the design, dubbed Cement Soil Dam (CSD), would require 300 tonnes of cement every day, among other things.

“This $17 million has not yet been cleared with the bank. Actually, we were exchanging documentation for the funds because the project is being managed by the SVTP and not the ministry,” Chikuni said.

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SVTP Coordinator Stanley Khaila confirmed the development and said that the money has not been approved by the World Bank.

“The World Bank has not yet approved funding for this cofferdam, but, under SVTP, we have resources for construction of the intake and because the cofferdam is meant to allow us to continue with the construction of the intake, the idea was that, at the moment, we could use part of those funds to construct the cofferdam,” Khaila said.

In an earlier interview, Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources Welani Chilenga insisted that the best solution to restore operations at Kapichira was to use resources under the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme.

The CSD will be 360 metres (m) long and 11m high with a 40m base. The type of design is homogenous with an estimated volume of 100 m3 of cement soil material.

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