The Chinese contractor building a dam on a tributary of the Zambezi River has halted work because of delayed payments from the government of Zambia. The contractor recently wrote to subcontractors to say that operations had been suspended.
China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CCEC) is building the US $499m Kafulafuta Dam in Zambia’s Copperbelt, a project that will provide fresh water for some 1 million people.
The Kafulafuta Dam project
The Kafulafuta Dam project was commissioned in October 2018 and is due to be finished by the end of next year. It will have a catchment area of 2,500 square kilometers with water supply capacity of 330,000 cubic meters a day, and a total volume of 125 million cubic metres. The length of the dam will be about 1,300m and the surface area of the reservoir will be 19.5 square kilometers.
Bruce Mwamba, Secretary General of the Consortium of Local Contractors and Allied Suppliers, a trade association, lamented that the move had negatively affected the more than 15 subcontractors involved. “This means that 450 workers will be affected as a result of this indefinite suspension. We appeal to the relevant authorities to fund the contractor,” he continued.
However, the Beijing company’s reason for suspension was refuted by Japhen Mwakalombe, Zambia’s minister for the Copperbelt, who said the works had been halted because of heavy rains. “You know very well that in any construction, it is not advised to continue with works when the ground is wet. So, the works have just stopped because of the rains,” the Minister said.
CCEC is a subsidiary of the state-owned the National Machinery Industry Corporation, or Sinomech for short, and specialises in power projects around the world, including two power plants in Nigeria.