Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric dam cleared for construction

Construction of stalled Umaa and Badassa dams to recommence

Tanzania’s 2,100MW hydroelectric dam at Stiegler’s Gorge has been cleared for construction by the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC). Dr. Samuel Gwamaka, the director general of the Council confirmed the reports and said that construction of the hydroelectric dam will have no impact on the local ecology

“The Stigler’s Gorge hydroelectric project is vital in building a strong industrial economy, hence the need to develop it without affecting all sources of Rufiji River.We are determined to make sure that all water sources in Morogoro, Iringa, Dodoma, Njombe, Mbeya and Ruvuma regions are well protected and sustained,” said Dr Gwamaka.

The director general added that relevant environmental protection measures would be implemented at all levels during construction. Dr. Gwamaka affirmed that all laws and regulations dealing with environmental protection would be upheld by the council.

“To achieve the Vision 2025, we need to develop this without affecting sources of Rufiji River,” he added. The Tanzania’s vision 2025 aimed at transforming the country into a middle income semi-industrialized economy,” said Dr. Gwamaka.

Also Read:Egypt set to take over dam construction in Tanzania

Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric dam

Project works involves the building of a major concrete dam to store the water needed for generating hydroelectric power from the power plant, as well as constructing four more dams to store water and increase the overall expected water reserves of African nation to thirty three billion cubic meters (26.7 million acre-feet).

The scheme also includes the establishment of a hydroelectric power plant with a total capacity of 2,115 megawatts, a 400-kilovolt substation power station and 400-kilovolt power transmission lines to the nearest public grid, he concluded. Speaking to a news agency, Diaa el-Kofi, an expert in dam construction said that the Egyptian companies won the Stiegler’s Gorge dam contract because Egypt is one of the leading countries in establishing dams.

“Egypt’s technical and operational experience in the field of dams is exploited by the country to strengthen its presence and role in continent. The country has been involved in establishing dams within and outside continent,” said Mohsen Salah.

Negative effect

Construction of the dam had earlier received opposition over concerns that construction would have negative effect on the biodiversity in the animal park. The project will be located within a World Heritage site placed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over increased poaching.

It is believed that construction of the dam on a river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve would affect the wildlife and their habitat. Speaking during the signing of the contract with the Egyptian firms that won the contract to construct the dam, President John Magufuli however brushed the claims aside stating that the project would proceed due to its economic importance.

Construction of supporting infrastructure such as MsamvuPangawe and Dakawa-Selous power transmission line, the Pangawe power substation and water supply facilities have already been completed.



  1. To his Excellency Dr Magafuli president of Tanzania.
    Our nation continues to live in darkness, despite the good efforts you have made to bring light into our darkness. How disappointing it must be for you to see that Tanesco continue to disappoint and undermine your best efforts. I have to openly question what motivates them.
    Tanesco had recently re run the Independent Power Producer(IPP) tender as out lined below. They did this because they could not get the process correct and transparent.
    We still do not know how many IPP’s submitted their formal tenders purchased through Tanesco. What we do know is that some of the applicants have been advised that they did not qualify, without giving reasons. Transparency is so lacking we do not know which of those IPP’s are ‘late’ or ‘early’ stage. This matters as ‘late’ stage contractors may be able to start work immediately, whilst ‘early’ stage applicants will have to follow a very long lead in time whilst conducting various feasibility studies and accumulate many licences. This is a very long and expensive process, not for the feint hearted or those who do not have financial integrity.
    In this regard, I was very surprised to see that a tender has been awarded to Stamico in conjunction with a Chinese power plant operator. Are these two companies really the best ‘late’ stage IPP’s as cursory investigation suggests that this may not be the situation? Your Excellency we are crying out for energy now and cannot afford ‘early’ stage development. I know we are far from Dodoma or Dar but please hear us as we should not be far from your heart.
    The part that concerns me most is that Tanesco look to have ‘planned to fail’ this tender process again! I refer to section 3 of the Tender notification document as shown above. I see the terms clearly show that a maximum of 300mw out of the 600mw can be located in one place. Yet Tanesco have granted a tender for 400mw in one place. The last time this happened Tanesco had to disqualify the bid for overstating the MW in their IPP bid, please see blow:
    How can such poor work be accepted by Tanesco, it makes it look that there may be other reasons, perhaps millions of other reasons why this bid was successful!!. Should this suspicion be true, then it brings great shame upon all of us.
    The ambassador from France has been explaining why it is that they fully support the industrialization of Tanzania and understand that this is an energy driven process, and offering to assist us. I wonder out loud, if their kind thoughts of offering assistance are now diminished when they see the results of this Tanesco tender process. I would not be surprised if any future IPP companies abandon interest in Tanzania completely.
    Stamico are a State Owned Enterprise(SOE) and I am pleased to see that they are associated with trying to bring Energy into our nation. The concern is that the process is suggesting, without stating that a mandatory partnering with an SOE is a requirement and that surprisingly only one bid met this requirement! Why could this SOE partnership requirement have not been made clear in the Tender documents? if so, there would have been far fewer applicants, perhaps just one that was planned all along, if any at all. The whole process is looking cosmetic, as if someone in Tanesco is trying to ensure that transparency is shielded.
    The concern is that we will now be viewed as not being trustworthy, as the bidding process looks like it is subject to forces that may not be working for the benefit of our nation. Instead this may be seen as just working for the benefit of some in Tanesco. Should this be the case then I believe our country will be abandoned. The truth is that if Stamico had applied as an IPP they would have failed due to their miserable track record of continued failure, with debts outstanding to the government. Does it not seem strange that Stamico, a SOE could have qualified in an IPP process, as Stamico are far from being independent or solvent yet have been handed this contract despite the below.
    1. SML 233/2005 Kiwira Coal Mines Limited (100%) Coal Active Active in default 17/11/2005 – 16/11/2030 Mbeya, Ileje,Rungwe 489,600.00 57,600.00 57,600.00 604,800.00
    So their licence is in default and they owe 604k to the TZ Govt

    By the grace of the African Development Bank(ADB) Tanzania will now have the costs of part of our new grid covered by their generosity. Thanks to you we have our fellow African nations supporting us.
    Will they still be so generous when they see what Tanesco have done?
    We know your heart is set on a new dam at Stieglers gorge . I am sure as do our people, hope and pray that this project will come to save us. Yet it may not arrive for many years. Your Excellency we need help now. The recent continued droughts have destroyed Tanesco ability to provide hydro As a nation we need reliable base load powering:
    Your Excellency you are our father and we are your children crying to you for light to come into our darkness, please hear our cry and take the action needed with Tanesco to have ‘late’ stage IPP’s reviewed. Please take charge as you did over the cashew nut problem which you solved for us. As now we are in the darkness and being left without hope.
    Your Excellency I have sent this by proxy to ensure the safety of my family and my self
    Concerned citizen


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