Moz dam to undergo revamp

2010-08-06 16:22

Maputo - Africa's largest energy-producing dam Cahora Bassa in northern Mozambique will receive its first revamp since it was built over 30 years ago, media reported on Friday.

The $20m renovations will include the rehabilitation of its nine watergates, dam director Gildo Sibumbo told the independent O Pais newspaper.

The 171-metre high and 303-metre wide dam was built in the 1970s by the former colonial master Portugal and produces 2 075 megawatts of energy, which is mostly sold to neighbouring South Africa.

Mozambique took ownership of the facility from Portugal in 2007, after paying €530m for majority shareholding.

Earlier this year Portugal announced it would sell its remaining 15% stake in the project.

Cahora Bassa has a volume of 510 000 000 cubic metres.

During Mozambique's civil war, the sluice gates were open for 16 years while no electricity was produced, which complicates the functioning of the dam now, said Sibumbo.

Construction work on the gates will only be done during the dry season, so that it does not interfere with energy production, he said.