Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC – a sister company of Kamoa Copper SA tasked with delivering reliable, clean, renewable hydropower to the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Mine – has extended its existing financing agreement under a public-private partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned power company, La Société Nationale d' Électricité (SNEL), to upgrade turbine 5 at the existing Inga II hydropower facility on the Congo River.

The extension of this financing agreement builds on the framework agreed in the memorandum of understanding signed with SNEL and announced in April 2021.

An estimated 162MW of hydropower is expected to be generated by upgrading Inga II’s turbine 5, which when combined with the 78MW of hydropower from the Mwadingusha facility, will give Kamoa-Kakula priority access to a combined 240MW of clean, renewable electricity.

The financing agreement was originally entered into in connection with the joint rehabilitation of the Mwadingusha hydropower plant under the first public-private partnership with SNEL, where five of six turbines now have been completed. Under this financial arrangement, rehabilitation and upgrade activities are financed by Kamoa Copper’s holding company, Kamoa Holding, by way of a loan to SNEL, which will be repaid through a deduction to monthly power bills incurred over the life of the loan.

Kamoa Copper and SNEL, together with Stucky SA and Voith Hydro as EPCM and contractor, have commenced a technical assessment to define the scope of work and associated costs estimate. The work also will include upgrading of the terminal equipment on the Inga-Kolwezi transmission line to increase its transfer capacity by a minimum of 200MW.

 “The Kamoa Copper management team continues to execute on our strategic plan to systematically expand Kamoa-Kakula into one of the world’s largest and greenest copper producers. The timely refurbishment of turbine 5 at the Inga II hydropower complex is instrumental in ensuring we meet the aggressive expansion goals we’ve set out to accomplish in the next few years,” commented Robert Friedland, Founder and Executive Co-Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines

SNEL CEO Jean-Bosco Kayombo Kayan added: “SNEL and Ivanhoe Mines Energy are confident that the Inga II project will enjoy the same success as our joint rehabilitation of the Mwadingusha hydroelectric power station. We all are keen on fast-tracking the return to service of unit 5 at Inga II to provide access to electricity to more people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to meet the power demands of the world-scale Kamoa-Kakula Copper Mine.”

The Inga II hydropower plant is located in the southwest of the DRC, on the Congo River. 

Originally equipped between 1977 and 1982, Inga II has been running for approximately 40 years. Four of the projects eight turbines have been already been refurbished and Turbine 5 is one of the remaining four turbines awaiting an upgrade. 

SNEL and Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC have appointed Voith Hydro as the contractor to lead the consortium of equipment manufacturers for the turbine upgrade. 

The Inga II dam wall and penstocks, with turbine 5 indicated by the red arrow.