THE CABINET has approved a treaty signed with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to begin development of the Grand Inga hydropower project that will eventually cost $100 billion (R1.1 trillion) and generate 40 000 megawatts of electricity. “The treaty provides the framework for the facilitation of power generation from the Grand Inga project and its delivery to the border between the DRC and Zambia,” Jeff Radebe, the Minister in the Presidency, said yesterday. The treaty was signed by President Jacob Zuma and Congolese President Joseph Kabila in October last year and will now be tabled in Parliament. Ratification of the treaty by Parliament would “enable development of phase one of the project, which will provide 2 500MW of electricity to South Africa”. The Grand Inga complex will be built in six phases before reaching full capacity, according to the DRC’s energy ministry. The treaty provides for the power to be shared among nations in the region. The Congolese government says it will choose a developer from three groups of companies: China Three Gorges and Sinohydro; Posco and Daewoo of South Korea in partnership with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group; and Spanish companies Actividades de Construcción y Servicios and Eurofinsa. “I’m not so sure about the timelines, but it’s a matter of great urgency,” Radebe said. “There are discussions between the two countries on the funding. It will involve lots… of money.” – Bloomberg