Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nepal, Chinese company ink West Seti Hydel project agreement

Govt, Chinese company ink West Seti Hydel project agreement, February 29, 2012

KATHMANDU, Feb 29: The government and China´s Three Gorges Corporation
(TGC) on Wednesday signed an agreement on construction of the 750-MW
West Seti Hydro Electricity Project

The project will cost USD 1.6 billion. As per the agreement, the Chinese
power company will have 75 percent of the total investment, while the
Nepal Electricity Authority will bear the remaining 25 percent of the
project cost.

The agreement also requires that the TGC should issue shares of one to
five per cent of the its total investment to Nepali nationals.

Likewise, the NEA will get necessary funds from the Chinese power
company in concessional loan, according to the agreement.

It also states that works will be contracted out in July 2014 and the
whole project will be completed by 2019.

Joint Secretary at the Energy Ministry Arjun Kumar Karki on behalf of
the Nepal government and TGC CEO Cao Guangjing on the behalf of the
Chinese power company signed the agreement.

This is International Rivers' mailing list on China's global footprint, and particularly Chinese investment in
international dam projects.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Nepal, Chinese company ink West Seti Hydel project agreement

Govt, Chinese company ink West Seti Hydel project agreement, February 29, 2012

KATHMANDU, Feb 29: The government and China´s Three Gorges Corporation
(TGC) on Wednesday signed an agreement on construction of the 750-MW
West Seti Hydro Electricity Project

The project will cost USD 1.6 billion. As per the agreement, the Chinese
power company will have 75 percent of the total investment, while the
Nepal Electricity Authority will bear the remaining 25 percent of the
project cost.

The agreement also requires that the TGC should issue shares of one to
five per cent of the its total investment to Nepali nationals.

Likewise, the NEA will get necessary funds from the Chinese power
company in concessional loan, according to the agreement.

It also states that works will be contracted out in July 2014 and the
whole project will be completed by 2019.

Joint Secretary at the Energy Ministry Arjun Kumar Karki on behalf of
the Nepal government and TGC CEO Cao Guangjing on the behalf of the
Chinese power company signed the agreement.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping is Poisoning Our Ocean, Rivers, and Lakes

Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping is Poisoning Our Ocean, Rivers,
and Lakes is a new investigative report from Earthworks and MiningWatch
Canada that documents how mining companies are using the world's
waterways as dumping grounds for their toxic mine wastes.

These mine wastes, or tailings, can contain up to three dozen dangerous
chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide.

Each year, mining companies dump over 180 million tonnes of these
hazardous mine wastes into rivers, oceans, and lakes - that's more than
1.5 times the amount of waste that US cities send to landfills each year.

The Troubled Waters report examines the impacts of ten corporations'
waste dumping practices in water bodies in 11 regions around the world,
including those in Papua New Guinea, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, United
States, and Norway.

The report calls on mining companies to stop using our oceans, rivers,
and lakes as dumping grounds for their toxic wastes. The report
recommends additional steps that must be taken by mining companies to
protect people and ecosystems from irresponsible aquatic waste disposal,
including dry stacking and backfill, where safe, and adopting measures
to produce less waste.

The new report and other background materials can be downloaded from

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Monday, February 27, 2012

West Seti Hydro Project: Chinese team to talk investment options

West Seti Hydro Project: Chinese team to talk investment options

Pragati Shahi
February 26, 2012

A three-member team from China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) is
arriving in Nepal on Sunday to discuss investment possibilities in the
750-MW West Seti Hydro Electricity Project (WSHEP).

The state-owned CTGC is China's largest hydropower developer, better
known as the company that constructed the Three Gorges Dam, the world's
largest power station in terms of the installed capacity (20,300 MW).

Energy Minister Post Bahadur Bogati on Saturday said the Chinese team
would hold a meeting with a technical team from Nepal formed to discuss
the matter.

According to Energy Ministry sources, CTGC has proposed that it would
help the government get soft loans from the Exim Bank of China. The Exim
Bank had earlier proposed to offer soft and commercial loans worth $1.6
billion, but the Nepal government had proposed the Chinese side to
provide the entire amount in concessional loans.

The Nepal government had made a formal request to the Chinese government
for financing the West Seti project during the 60-member Chinese
delegation�s visit to Nepal last year. The delegation was led by Zhou
Yongkang, a powerful member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese
Communist Party (CPC). In response, the Chinese side had asked Nepal to
send the Detailed Project Report of the project to China.

Earlier this year, CTGC had written to the Prime Minister's Office
expressing its interest to invest in the West Seti Project.

Following the termination of West Seti's licence on July, 2011, the
ministry had suggested three options to the government for the
construction of the project�the government build the project on its own
or find loans or call a global tender.

West Seti was originally designed as an export-oriented project with 90
percent of the power to be exported to India. However, its promoter,
West Seti Hydropower Company Limited (WSHPL), failed to move ahead with
the construction that was estimated to cost Rs 120 billion.

WSHPL, after failing to manage resources, proposed developing the
project under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in January,
2011. The storage-type project located in Doti and Dadheldura districts
is one of the top priority projects.

This is International Rivers' mailing list on China's global footprint, and particularly Chinese investment in
international dam projects.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Internat'l Rivers blog:

A new blog on Africa's potential for renewable energy ( by
International Rivers' Lori Pottinger) asks, "When Will Africa See the
Light?" It begins:
It was a bright year for renewable energy in many parts of the world,
despite the recession. Global investment in clean energy generation
capacity reached a record high of $260 billion in 2011, according to
Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Investment in solar technology grew by
a third over the previous year. Rooftop PV modules, whose cost has
dropped by 75% in the past three years, accounted for more than half
of solar�s growth.

Wind power didn�t see as much growth, but the news was still good. The
Global Wind Energy Council reported a total of over 41 gigawatts of
new wind power were installed in 2011, an increase of 6%. China led
the way with 18 gigawatts of turbines last year. At least 75 countries
now have wind installations, for a global total of 238 gigawatts. But
one of the world�s most solar-rich places was left behind in this
boom. Africa, which suffers from the world�s worst energy poverty, is
still being left in the dark when it comes to clean renewable energy.

Read the full blog here:

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Gibe Dam rides roughshod over local tribespeople/UK Guardian

Ethiopia dam project rides roughshod over heritage of local tribespeople
Human rights abuse allegations as tens of thousands forced off
traditional lands to make way for Gibe III dam project plantations

by John Vidal, environment editor
�, Thursday 23 February 2012

Thousands of semi-nomadic tribespeople are being forcibly moved from
their traditional lands in southern Ethiopia to make way for European
and Indian sugar cane and biofuel plantations, according to
testimonies collected by Survival International researchers.

Agricultural developments along the Omo river valley have accompanied
the building of the 243-metre-high Gibe III dam, expected to be
Ethiopia's largest investment project and Africa's largest hydropower
plant. But allegations of human rights abuses have marred both the
dam's construction and the creation of a 140-mile-long reservoir
intended to provide water for irrigation of industrial-scale

"Clearance of people and bush has started in earnest in the Omo Valley
and violence against tribal people by the military, and tribal
resistance, is increasing", says a Survival researcher who has just
returned to London from the region.

"The tribes have been told the plan is to resettle them, and that this
will happen by the end of 2012. These people are among the most self-
sufficient in a country where famine and hunger are prevalent."

New sugar cane and biofuel plantations are already affecting about
10,000 people from the Bodi, Mursi and Kwegu tribes. But as the
government clears more land, more people will be affected. Between
20,000 and 40,000 could be affected by one cane project alone, claims

"The plantations and resettlement of people [into new villages] will
destroy their livelihoods and ability to fend for themselves," said a
spokesman. "They will almost certainly end up languishing in the
villages or 'camps', relying on donor aid [and] having lost all sense
of identity and self worth, as has happened with other tribes forcibly
resettled in many other countries."

The Omo tribes, who are among the most diverse in the world, have
until now depended on the annual, three-month long flood of the Omo
river, which flows from southern Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in
northern Kenya, depositing fertile silt and allowing them to plant
sorghum, maize and other crops. But without land for cultivation or
grazing, the tribes will be destitute and foodless, say international

"The government came to take the land for itself for the sugar cane
plantations," said one man in a testimony given to Survival. "It never
came to ask us. It came, took our land, and told us it wants to move
all the people in the Omo Valley to stay in one place like a camp. It
took my land. Now it beats us."

A second man said: "The government says cattle and people have to move
from the Omo valley to where there are no grass and no crops. We and
the cattle will die together. We are not rich people, we are

"There are many machines clearing the bush and the road. The
government is coming to clear our houses and throw our sorghum in the
river. Now we live in the bush because all the land has been cleared,"
said a third.

The construction of large dams has a history of insensitive
relocations of people and environmental problems. More than 400,000
people have been resettled as a direct result of dam construction in
Africa. But the construction of Gibe III could eventually affect more
than 1.5 million people, according to watchdog group International

Some of the greatest hydrological effects could be seen near Lake
Turkana, into which the river Omo flows. When the dam is complete and
the reservoir is full, possibly in 2015, the lake could shrink to one
third of its present size, jeopardising the livelihoods of up to
300,000 people.

The Ethiopian government in London did not respond to the allegations
this week, but late last year it strongly denied accusations of human
rights abuses in the valley, saying: "The government is fully
committed to rural development to benefit the people and it is equally
committed to the rights of all the nations, nationalities and peoples
in the country, including those in the Omo river basin. The reality on
the ground in the Omo Valley shows a totally different picture to that
painted by Survival International. Following consultations, local
people have confirmed agreement to the plantation projects, and to the
proposed resettlement; the projects, designed for everybody's benefit
and well-being, are progressing smoothly."

A spokesman for International Rivers said: "The dwindling of resources
caused by the dam would increase local conflicts between ethnic
groups. Firearms are already omnipresent among the region's
communities. But the dam is just one factor in a perfect storm rapidly
descending on the Lower Omo Valley. The government of Ethiopia is
exploring the area for oil and minerals and planning large-scale
agricultural and biofuel schemes, which could further fuel conflicts
over traditional land and water resources."

� � 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
All rights reserved.
Jornal do Brazil
22/02 �s 10h29 - Atualizada em 22/02 �s 10h36

Survival revela chocantes abusos aos direitos humanos na Eti�pia
Jornal do Brasil


A Survival International revelou novas evid�ncias chocantes de abusos
contra os direitos humanos de tribos no Vale do Omo na Eti�pia, dados
os esfor�os crescentes por parte do governo de desenvolver planta��es
de cana-de-a��car na regi�o.

Dois meninos Karo �s margens do rio Omo na Eti�pia, essencial �s suas
Escavadeiras t�m aplainado terra pr�xima a um Patrim�nio Mundial da
UNESCO, destruindo vilas e for�ando comunidades locais a desistirem do
seu estilo de vida pastoreio.
O medo est� crescendo entre as tribos pr�ximas ao rio Omo, com a
viol�ncia e relatos de espancamentos, estupros e pris�es.
A Survival recebeu, em janeiro de 2012, relatos de que tr�s homens
Bodi foram espancados at� a morte numa pris�o na Eti�pia.

O governo tamb�m est� ordenando �s fam�lias para que vendam os seus
animais. Um homem disse � Survival, �O meu dinheiro � o meu gado. A
minha conta banc�ria � o meu gado. �
A Survival tem fotos exclusivas de uma estrada sendo constru�da pelo
governo et�ope, a qual atravessa diretamente uma terra tribal, de
forma a facilitar o acesso a zonas de desmatamento.

Um homem Mursi declarou, �O governo est� desenvolvendo planta��es de
cana de a��car na minha terra. Quando voc� vir tudo isso, voc� chorar�
� n�o h� mais mata no Vale do Omo agora.�
Dois departamentos das Na��es Unidas demandaram � Eti�pia que
evidencie que as tribos est�o sendo consultadas, e que os
desenvolvimentos atuais n�o est�o danificando o patrim�nio cultural e
natural. Contudo, o governo et�ope ignorou os pedidos.

A Survival tamb�m recebeu preocupantes relatos em que o governo da
Eti�pia teria come�ado um processo de assentamento for�ado das tribos
do Vale do Omo.

�s comunidades tem sido dado um ano para a realoca��o, em um programa
similar �quele descrito pela Human Rights Watch no oeste et�ope na
regi�o de Gambela.

Um homem Mursi disse � Survival, �Ele (o governo) veio, roubou-nos a
terra e disse-nos que queria mover todas as pessoas no Vale do Omo a
um local como um campo.�

A Survival International disse hoje, �O governo da Eti�pia �
respons�vel por alguns dos abusos mais violentos contra os direitos
humanos que a Survival viu nos �ltimos anos. Isso acontece, uma vez
que se disfar�a o roubo de terras em nome de �desenvolvimento�,
esperando ir longe com tais atrocidades. Somente investidores estatais
e privados se beneficiar�o da usurpa��o do Vale do Omo, enquanto
tribos autossuficientes encaram a destrui��o.�

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

3 years of drought, and it could get worse

3 years of drought, and it could get worse
Shanghai Daily
February 21, 2012
By Yang Jian

A SEVERE drought exacerbating water shortages and hindering agricultural
production in southwest China's Yunnan Province could get worse as there
is little prospect of rain any time soon, the country's weather
authority said yesterday.

Most areas in Yunnan will have sunny and cloudless weather this week,
the National Metrological Center said.

A drought that has plagued the province for the past three years has
affected 6.31 million people in 91 counties, according to provincial
civil affairs authorities. More than 2.42 million people and 1.55
million livestock are short of drinking water.

Reservoirs have been drying up, while wheat and other plants are
withering in most of the affected counties. People have to walk greater
distances to larger reservoirs to collect water.

On some reservoirs in Shilin County it is possible to drive on the
reservoir bed as the earth has dried and cracked, Xinhua news agency said.

Farmers are planting wheat and soybeans, which require less water to
grow, but even these crops are drying out. Some farmers have begun
pulling out the dried wheat to feed their buffalo, Xinhua said.

The drought has caused agricultural losses of some 2.2 billion yuan
(US$349 million), Yunnan's department of agriculture said.

Some 376,170 hectares of farmland in the 91 counties and 13 cities have
been affected, including 62,480 hectares of farmland which yielded no
crops, the department said.

The continuous drought since 2009 has also pushed up the price of
traditional Chinese medicine as Yunnan is a major production area for
TCM drugs.

Prices have been rising at around 30 percent a year on more than 80
percent of drugs from the province as production declines, officials said.

The lack of rainfall since last autumn has reduced the water level of
many rivers. Levels are 80 percent lower compared to previous years in
some major rivers in China's southeast, said the Office of State Flood
Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

It estimates that more than 3 million people are facing a shortage of
drinking water because of drought that is also affecting southwest
China's Sichuan Province and the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

China vows backing for firms investing abroad

China vows backing for firms investing abroad
By Hu Yinan and Zhang Yunbi
January 06th, 2012 | China Daily

The suspension of a $3.6 billion joint hydropower project in Myanmar in
September has sent alarming signals to Chinese companies investing in
emerging markets, said Luo Zhaohui, director-general of the Asia
Department of the Foreign Ministry.

Beijing will boost political diplomatic backing for its companies
overseas, particularly in Asia, the most preferred and concentrated
destination of Chinese investment, Luo said during an online interview
on Thursday.

By the end of 2010, 71.9 percent of China�s foreign direct investment,
which totaled $300 billion, was based in Asia, official figures showed.

"As the scope of these companies broadens, the risks and challenges they
face, such as shifts in political affairs, disruption by external
factors and a lack of experience in operating internationally, are
rising as well," said Luo, a former ambassador to Pakistan.

Thursday�s interview, the first in a series with a dozen senior Chinese
diplomats, was co-hosted by websites of People�s Daily, China Daily,
China News Service and the Foreign Ministry.

Myanmar President Thein Sein�s sudden suspension of the Myitsone
hydropower plant, a project both sides agreed upon in 2006, on Sept 30,
came as a surprise to many. The country�s foreign minister and
vice-president paid consecutive visits to China to hold consultations in
the wake of the incident.

The two countries are still in the process of properly resolving the
issue, Luo said, adding that China supports reconciliation efforts by
the Myanmar government and is willing to see its relations improve with
Western countries.

Yang Baoyun, a professor of Asian studies at Peking University, said
State-owned companies should "be more cautious" in investing overseas.

"The overseas operation of large State-owned enterprises serves as a
component of public diplomacy," he said. State-owned China Power
Investment is Myitsone�s largest investor.

At the diplomatic level, Luo said Beijing is calling on relevant
countries to ease sanctions against Myanmar to facilitate the stability
and development of the country.

William Hague on Thursday became the first UK foreign secretary to visit
Myanmar since 1955. His visit came three months before the European
Union is scheduled to hold its annual sanctions review, and followed an
unprecedented visit to Myanmar by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
in early December.

US billionaire investor George Soros recently wrapped up a weeklong trip
to Myanmar, during which he met President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu
Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy.

In Beijing, Luo said the US� increasing strategic input in the
Asia-Pacific is testament to the vitality, potential and growing
significance of the region.

China is "fully capable of well managing its surroundings", he said.

Dismissing concerns of potential clashes as Washington�s interests in
Asia come to intersect with those of Beijing, Luo said Sino-US
cooperation in the Asia-Pacific is the common aspiration of all
countries in the region.

China respects the legitimate interests of the United States in the
Asia-Pacific, welcomes the US to play a constructive role in regional
affairs and urges it to "respect Asian characteristics, respect the
Asian model and respect the interests of relevant parties", Luo said.

Beijing will be neither provocative nor afraid of tackling issues, he added.

"We�re clear on where the bottom line of our interests is," said Luo.

He added: "We disagree with the concept of zero-sum games, and are not
of the view that a rising nation will necessarily collide with an
existing power. China is on the path of peaceful development, a path
that we chose ourselves."

Shi Yinhong, a researcher at the China Institute of International
Studies, said this reflects what President Hu Jintao told his US
counterpart Barack Obama in November � that he hopes Washington, too,
can respect China�s legitimate interests in the Asia-Pacific.

This is International Rivers' mailing list on China's global footprint, and particularly Chinese investment in
international dam projects.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

S. Africa's $78bn infrastructure spend to include G. Inga

S. Africa Considers $78 Billion Nuclear-, Coal-Power Spend

By Mike Cohen - Feb 22, 2012 5:03 AM PT

� South Africa is considering spending more than 600 billion rand
($78 billion) on nuclear plants, another coal-fired plant and a
hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo to stave off
power shortages in Africa�s largest economy.
Proposals to spend 300 billion rand on nuclear plants with the
capacity to generate 9,600 megawatts of energy by 2029 are in the
�final stages of consideration,� the National Treasury said in the
2012 budget statement today. The government may also build a 111
billion-rand coal-fired plant, in addition to the Medupi and Kusile
plants under construction by state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.

The Treasury has allocated 844.5 billion rand to energy, transport,
housing, telecommunications and water projects in the three years
through March 2015. It lists 43 infrastructure programs worth a total
of 3.2 trillion rand that are in progress or under consideration for
implementation by 2020.

�No good project will be short of funding,� Finance Minister Pravin
Gordhan told lawmakers in his budget speech in Cape Town. �South
Africa has deep and liquid capital markets through which long-term
capital can be raised at competitive rates.�

Power Shortages
President Jacob Zuma announced plans for a �massive� infrastructure
drive in his Feb. 9 state-of-the-nation speech to help spur investment
and support growth in the continent�s biggest economy.

South Africa is expanding its electricity generation base to avoid a
repeat of power shortages that halted mines for at least five days in
January 2008. It�s looking to nuclear and hydropower to help reduce
its reliance on coal to reduce negative effects on the environment.

Areva SA, EDF SA, Toshiba Corp.�s Westinghouse Electric Corp. unit,
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp., Korea Electric Power
Corp. and Rosatom Corp. are potential bidders for nuclear plants, the
Johannesburg-based Mail & Guardian newspaper reported Oct. 7.

An investment of 200 billion rand in Congo�s 40,000- megawatt Grand
Inga hydropower project is at the �assessment stage,� while a study
into a 200 billion-rand solar park is due for completion this year.

Grand Inga
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world�s biggest mining company, on Feb. 15 said
it shelved plans to build an aluminum smelter that would have
underpinned the Inga III plant in Congo.

Transportation projects being considered include a 37 billion-rand
upgrade of Transnet SOC Ltd.�s rail line transporting coal from the
eastern Mpumalanga province to the port of Richards Bay. A 300 billion-
rand high-speed rail line between Johannesburg and the eastern port of
Durban is still at a conceptual stage, the Treasury said.

The government is also considering a proposal for state petroleum
company PetroSA to build a 200 billion-rand, 360,000 barrel-per-day
refinery at the eastern port of Coega.

Public-sector borrowing will start �rapidly rising� after 2015 as
infrastructure investment accelerates, Gordhan said.

The government has been struggling to implement capital projects,
spending just 68 percent of the 260 billion rand allocated in the year
through March 2011, Gordhan said.

�In addition to long delays, we have often experienced significant
cost overruns,� he said. �We shall step up the quality of planning,
costing and project management so that infrastructure is delivered on
time and on budget.�

The government is reviewing its investment in a number of state-owned
companies and may sell non-priority assets, the Treasury said.

New regulators may also be established to oversee the water and
transport industries, to ensure the services they provide are
correctly priced, while the Department of Energy is reviewing of its
power-pricing policy, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Uganda's Power Drive Stills Rapids at the Headwaters of the Nile

 Uganda's Power Drive Stills Rapids at the Headwaters of the Nile
A new dam in Uganda.

by Andrew Green in Jinja, Uganda

Uganda hopes to increase access to electricity with the new Bujagali Dam on the Victoria Nile, but the project claimed a roiling rapids (below) that once attracted tourists and wildlife, like the Little Egret seen here.

For National Geographic News

Published February 21, 2012

Despite years of warnings, Richard Njuba was still stunned when Uganda's Bujagali Falls actually flooded in late 2011.  For three years, the river guide had been taking people  on boats for a closer view of the falls, which were not so much a waterfall but a  series of raging rapids about six miles (ten kilometers) north of the source of the Nile.

In early November, Njuba noticed the water level rising, and less than two weeks later, the cascading falls were gone, he said.

The flooding of Bujagali Falls to create a reservoir was one of the last steps before the launch of Uganda's $862-million, 250-megawatt Bujagali Dam on the Victoria Nile, one of the two great tributaries to the world's longest river. Limited power-production testing began the first week of February, following nearly five years of construction and more than a decade of controversy.

The debates haven't ended, even as the countdown continues toward full power production within the next few months. On one side are the project team and the investors, eager for the hydropower project to succeed. On the other side are environmentalists, who have predicted the dam will harm biodiversity, curb local tourism, and lower water levels in Lake Victoria, the world's largest tropical lake.

(Related Blog Post: Resurgence of Large Dams Threatens Tribal People Worldwide, Report Says)

Power Poor

The most anxious onlookers, though, are the Ugandan people. More than 90 percent of them have no  access to electricity.

Uganda, with one of the highest population growth rates in the world, cannot keep pace with its energy demands. Even those on the grid have suffered frequent power outages since several emergency energy plants closed last year.

Bujagali's 250 MW is a relatively small-sized dam; it is about one-tenth the capacity of Egypt's Aswan Dam far north on the Nile River. In the United States, it would be enough power to feed 190,000 homes, but of course, the electricity will go much further amid the low per capita energy consumption of Uganda.

(Related: "Ethiopia Moves Forward With Massive Nile Dam Project")

The Bujagali Dam is the "best long-term solution" to help reverse Uganda's power problem, according to the project's director, Glenn Gaydar. Gaydar works for Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL), which won the bid to build the dam in 2005 after its first developer—AES—backed out. BEL is owned jointly by U.S.-based Sithe Global and Kenya's Industrial Promotion Services. AES, based in Arlington, Virginia, and with projects in 27 countries, wrote off its $76 million investment in 2003, saying delays had increased risks and reduced potential returns.

But Gaydar said the project, which is supported by investments from 12 different sources—including the World Bank—will underscore the potential of privately funded hydro projects to meet regional energy demands.

(Related Photos: "Preserving Beauty, Providing Hydropower in Scotland")

Frank Muramuzi, the executive director of Uganda's National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), said the energy gains don't outweigh the environmental costs. He ticked off environmentalists' objections: the flooding of natural animal habitats, the possible disruption of fish migrations, and the forced resettlement of families to create the reservoir.

A 2006 assessment of the project's impact acknowledged all of those issues, but Uganda's top environmental body signed off on the dam anyway.

And BEL did follow up on efforts that AES had started to resettle or compensate the roughly 8,700 people affected by the flooding. The company also worked with local wildlife authorities to rescue animals that would have been trapped in the reservoir. Gaydar said it was part of BEL's "outside-the-fence activities," which also included establishing schools, medical clinics, and a micro-credit fund in affected communities.

"We bent over backwards to be responsive to the community and to the country," he said.

But Muramuzi said he is still concerned that the dam has put one of the country's most important resources—Lake Victoria—at risk. He said that if the dam operates at its potential, it could reduce water levels in Africa's largest lake. He pointed to a 2006 study that showed two smaller dams upstream from Bujagali were partially responsible for a drop in the lake's levels. If Bujagali runs at 250 MW, he said, he suspects it will drain even more.

If that happens "you'll not even get enough water to supply to these urban centers and cities," he said.

Gaydar said that's not going to happen. The dam will operate under internationally agreed upon rules that regulate the amount of water that can be drained from the lake, he said. And in the end, he said Bujagali could actually help relieve the flow of water from the lake, since the dam will add energy to the grid by reusing water already being pulled for the upstream dams.

Water and Africa

Bujagali is of a piece with much of sub-Saharan Africa, which is dependent on big hydro for its energy, according to Lori Pottinger. Pottinger works on the Africa campaigns for International Rivers, a nonprofit that advocates for the protection of the world's rivers. The organization has  been a vocal opponent of the Bujagali Dam.

In 2010 International Rivers determined that 60 percent of the subcontinent's power comes from dams. That's a problem, Pottinger said, as climate change causes fluctuations in water levels that could either overwhelm dams or render them useless.

But a 2010 World Bank report came to an opposite conclusion, arguing that hydropower can actually strengthen a country's capacity to regulate and store water.

(Related Blog Post: Can Uganda and Ethiopia Be Egypt's 'Water Bankers'?)

Nevertheless, Pottinger said, some of Uganda's neighbors, such as Kenya, are "starting to see climate change as a real risk to [hydropower] projects" and are looking at wind power and other sources to diversify their energy projects.

Still, hydro remains king in Africa. International Rivers put together a map in 2010 showing proposed dams across 76 different rivers on the continent, including two more in Uganda's Nile River basin.

(Related: "Report: Africans Must Adapt to Drought in a Warming World")

Now, with Bujagali Dam set to come fully online, environmentalists are taking a wait-and-see approach. But the impact on Bujagali Falls—which used to serve as the climax for local rafting trips and as a popular tourist attraction—is already clear.

Local companies, with financial support from BEL, are moving quickly to ensure that the loss of the falls does not spell an end to tourism in the region.

Peter Knight owns All Terrain Adventures, which offers quad biking in the area, as well as a café and bar. He started building the business in 2002, knowing that the rapids would one day disappear. Last year he put in a miniature golf course.

"I concede it's a bit of a folly—the old ruined castle," he said of the course.

By the time the falls flooded, he said, he had already invested too much in the location to move. Now he's working out a rebranding strategy, hoping to get the idea of Lake Bujagali to catch on. It could be a place geared toward families and relaxation. It's a place where former falls guides, like Njuba, can take people on slow boat rides in the shadow of the dam.

(Related Photos: "A River People Awaits an Amazon Dam")

This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.

Ethiopia: Stop Land Grabbing and Restore Indigenous Peoples' Lands/Action alert

(Forwarded from Cultural Survival)

Stop Land Grabbing and Restore Indigenous Peoples' Lands

Global Response Campaign Alert

Feb. 2012

You can make a difference!

Ethiopia receives more foreign aid than any other African nation --
upwards of $3 billion a year. These funds aim to relieve poverty and
hunger, but Ethiopia's policies are deliberately making some of its
citizens poorer and hungrier. The government is forcing the Indigenous
Peoples of the southwest off their ancestral lands and leasing these
lands to foreign companies. Bulldozers are destroying the forests,
farms, and grazing lands that have sustained Anuak, Mezenger, Nuer,
Opo, and Komo peoples for centuries.

While the foreign companies are planting food crops and agrofuels like
oil palm, mainly for export, soldiers are forcing thousands of
Indigenous people into state-created villages, simultaneously robbing
them of their livelihoods and their cultural identity. Their protests
are being met with intimidation, extra-judicial killings, rape,
incarceration, and torture.

Who can do something about this? The best hope lies with the donor
nations, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, and the
European Union. Let's urge them to use their influence to halt these
abuses now.

• More information on how you can help:

Thank you for participating in this campaign!

To support this and other Cultural Survival/Global Response campaigns,
please make a donation today. With each letter you write and each
dollar you give, you help us win campaigns that protect Indigenous
Peoples' lands and resources and defend their rights.

Thank you.

Paula Palmer, Director
Global Response Program

As always, we welcome your comments. Please send your feedback and
suggestions to

Cultural Survival is a global leader in the fight to protect
Indigenous lands, languages, and cultures around the world. In
partnership with Indigenous Peoples, we advocate for Native
communities whose rights, cultures, and dignity are under threat. For
more information go to

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chinese dam triggers earthquake, rattles Hong Kong

Chinese dam triggers earthquake, rattles Hong Kong

(Probe International, February 16, 2012) An earthquake that shook Hong
Kong early this morning was triggered by the Xinfengjiang dam on China's
mainland, say officials from the Guangdong Provincial Seismological Bureau.

by Patricia Adams

Zhong Yijun, the vice director of the Guangdong Provincial Seismological
Bureau, told China News Service (Zhongguo xinwen she), today's
earthquake in Hong Kong was caused by the filling of the Xinfengjiang

The magnitude 4.8 quake, which hit at 2:34 AM local time, occurred in
Heyuan prefecture in the northern part of Guangdong Province and could
be felt in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. There were no reports of

This isn't the first time the dam has triggered a temblor. Xinfengjiang
caused China's largest and most famous reservoir-induced seismic event
in 1962 when it triggered a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that toppled
buildings and cracked the dam.

The phenomena, known as "reservoir-induced seismicity" (RIS), occurs
when a full reservoir creates extra pressure in the micro-cracks and
fissures in the ground under and near the reservoir, in essence
lubricating them. When the reservoir is drawn down, the friction caused
by the mass of the reservoir relaxes, allowing slippage to occur.

According to data from the Guangdong Provincial Seismological Bureau,
six earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 5 (including the largest
M6.1 quake in 1962) have occurred since the Xinfengjiang reservoir began
filling in 1959. Since then, small and medium earthquakes in the area
has been relatively active, with 44 seismic events greater than a
magnitude of 4 on the Richter scale occurring since impoundment began.

Zhong says that larger magnitude earthquakes are unlikely in the near

The geological phenomena of reservoir-induced seismicity has gathered
intense interest since scientists began investigating the likelihood
that China's massively destructive 2008 earthquake in Sichuan was
triggered by the Zipingpu dam. That magnitude 7.9 quake killed an
estimated 90,000 people.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Ethiopia's tribes cry for help

Ethiopia's tribes cry for help
A drive to become a world leading sugar producer threatens the
livelihoods of thousands of people in rural areas.
13 Feb 2012 06:42

by Dominic Brown

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Lower Omo Valley in south-western Ethiopia
is a vast and rugged region of mountains and valleys, inhabited
largely by nomadic agro-pastoralist tribes numbering some 200,000
people. Many live a simple existence, living in straw thatched huts
and have little contact with the outside world. But the Ethiopian
government's new found appetite for large-scale sugar production
threatens the very existence of many of these tribes.

Nearly 300,000 hectares of land in the Omo and Mago National Parks,
which comprises much of the Lower Omo Valley, has been earmarked for
the Kuraz Sugar Development programme. Backed by large-scale
investment from Indian companies, the programme aims to help increase
overall sugar production in Ethiopia to 2.3 million tonnes by 2015,
with the goal of achieving a 2.5 per cent global share by 2017.

Whilst revenues from the sugar plantations will undoubtedly fill the
coffers of central government, the forced relocation of tribes from
their traditional lands is already having catastrophic consequences.
The permanent damage to a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is
also raising alarm amongst environmentalists.

"We stand to lose everything," one tribal leader explained, tears
welling in his eyes, as he stood surrounded by his villagers. "Our
traditional hunting grounds, the land we use for grazing our cattle,
our homes. Everything will be gone. We will be left with nothing. We
need the outside world to help us."

Early in 2011, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi spoke of the
importance of the project to the country's economy, outlined in the
government's Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). "In the coming five
years there will be a very big irrigation project and related
agricultural development in this zone. Even though this area is known
as backward in terms of civilisation, it will become an example of
rapid development."

Human rights abuses

This "rapid development" has come at a price. There have been almost
inevitable human rights abuses inflicted upon those resisting
relocation since the Kuraz Sugar Development programme began last
June. A report [PDF] by the Oakland Institute, a US-based think-tank,
details how Ethiopian Defence Forces "arrive at Omo Valley villages
(and in particular Bodi, Mursi and Suri villages) questioning
villagers about their perspectives on the sugar plantations. Villagers
are expected to voice immediate support, otherwise beatings (including
the use of tasers), abuse and general intimidation occurs".

Other allegations of abuse to have leaked out include the rape of male
tribesmen, as well as of women and children by Ethiopian soldiers.
Dozens of villagers from the region also remain in detention after
voicing opposition to the development plans.

Violent clashes between the Ethiopian army and tribes from the region
are on the rise. A local human rights worker told me of their fears of
an escalation in the crisis to civil war. "Many tribes are saying they
will fight back rather than be moved off their traditional lands to
make way for these plantations. They are living in fear but feel they
have nothing to lose by fighting back."

Roadblocks are now in place in many parts of the Lower Omo Valley,
limiting accessibility and ensuring the relocations remain out of the
spotlight. Tribal rights NGO Survival International is leading calls
for a freeze on plantation building and for a halt to the evictions.
They have been campaigning to draw more attention to the deteriorating
situation in the region since the Ethiopian government announced plans
for the Gib III Dam [PDF] - Africa's tallest, and one that is
scheduled for completion later this year.

When completed, it threatens to destroy a fragile environment and the
livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and
its annual flood. Up to 500,000 people - including tribes in
neighbouring Kenya - rely on the waters and adjacent lands of the Omo
River and Lake Turkana, most of which lies in Kenya. The Karo people,
now estimated to number just 1,500 along the eastern banks of the Omo
River, face extinction. Already suffering from dwindling fish stocks
as a result of the dam, the reduced river levels have also harmed
their crop yields.
A 'worrying trend'

Liz Hunter, a campaigner at Survival International spoke of her alarm
about the situation facing those in the region. "We are extremely
concerned about the leasing of the Omo Valley tribes' land by the
Ethiopian government to state and foreign companies. By regulating the
flow of the Omo, the dam will enable irrigation of the plantations. So
the tribes face a double whammy - loss of the natural flood and
therefore their ability to feed themselves through the flood retreat
cultivation, and now loss of cattle grazing land to state and foreign

Land grabbing is becoming a worrying trend throughout rural Ethiopia
and is not isolated to the Lower Omo Valley region. Human Rights Watch
stated in a recent report that the Ethiopian government's "failure to
provide food assistance for relocated people has caused endemic hunger
and cases of starvation".

More than 70,000 people are estimated to have been forced off their
land in the Gambella Region in the west of the country to make way for
Saudi Arabian and Chinese-owned rice growing plantations. The
Ethiopian government maintains that much of the land they are leasing
to foreign investors is unfarmed and unsuitable for smallholder
farmers. But Tichafa Makovere, a permaculture and farming expert from
Zimbabwe, disputes this stance. "One can never say that land is not in
use. Even unfarmed land provides a vital habitat for wildlife. To
tamper with it affects ecosystems that we all depend upon for our

The increasing levels of foreign influence are also raising anxiety
amongst people in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. "It's a new form
of colonialism," one Ethiopian NGO worker told me in a coffee house.
"We fear where we will we be in ten years' time, when more and more of
our land is controlled by these foreign investors." Anxiety threatens
to swell to resentment, with many Chinese and Indian companies
operating in the country flying in their own workers, depriving
Ethiopians of work, and ultimately leading to huge reserves of money
leaving the country.

With thousands facing uncertain futures, never before has sugar left
such a sour taste in the mouth.

Dominic Brown is an independent filmmaker and writer. His latest
documentary is Forgotten Bird of Paradise.

Follow him on Twitter: @zevion

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not
necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tibetan Village Stops Mining on Sacred Mountain

Tibetan Village Stops Mining on Sacred Mountain
Sacred Land News
January 26, 2012
By Amberly Polidor

Additional reporting:

Vista on the 800-year-old pilgrimage route that circles Mount Kawagebo.
Photo courtesy of He Ran Gao.In Tibetan culture, where people live in
intimate relationship with the natural world around them, reality and
mythology have a way of blending together. So it was perhaps no surprise
to local villagers when, after a Chinese mining company and local
authorities repeatedly repelled efforts stop a gold mining project on
the slopes of holy Mount Kawagebo, the mountain appeared to strike back.

Mount Kawagebo, so sacred that climbing is banned, sits on the border
between Tibet and China�s Yunnan Province; its eastern side is part of
the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area UNESCO World Heritage
site. In February 2011, a small gold-mining operation started near the
village of Abin, which is on the western side of Kawagebo, along the
path of an 800-year-old pilgrimage route that circles the mountain,
attracting tens of thousands of Tibetans annually.

To the local people, who believe strongly in the sacredness of Mount
Kawagebo, direct destruction of the mountain body, through activities
like mining, is unthinkable. Further, villagers said the project was
started without permission or prior consent. Thus began a community
effort to halt the project.

Villagers said their attempts to deal directly with the mining company
resulted in threats and violence from agents hired by the company, and
harassment and arrests by local police. On two occasions, men armed with
wooden sticks with nails attacked villagers, injuring more than a dozen.

After efforts to negotiate with the local government failed, villagers
pushed $300,000 worth of mining equipment into the Nu River. A leader of
the group was arrested, but later released when 100 villagers surrounded
the local police station where he was being held. A few months later,
however, mining resumed and tensions grew. Harassment, death threats and
attacks on villagers increased, and some women and children fled to
other villages to escape the violence.

On January 20, 2012, a village leader who had tried to confront the
mining company was ambushed by local police, tased and arrested. Some
200 community members surrounded the police station, and an ensuing riot
resulted in violence and injuries on both sides, with at least one
villager sent to the hospital with serious injuries. The leader was
released, but protests continued as villagers demanded closure of the
mine, and hundreds more villagers from the surrounding area joined in.

This time, the local government held negotiations with the community,
including the just-released leader, on behalf of the mining company,
whose boss had reportedly fled the area. Villagers involved in
negotiations said they were offered money in exchange for allowing the
mining to continue, but they refused. On January 23, with tensions
mounting, a vice-official from the prefecture government ordered the
mine closed and the equipment trucked out of the village.

While the persistence of the community to protect its holy mountain
ultimately paid off, some villagers suggested the mountain itself had a
role to play. During the negotiations, many reported hearing the sound
of a trumpet shell�used in Tibetan religious rituals�coming from the
mountain, while others reported unusually windy weather, which stopped
once the conflict was resolved.

A Tibetan hired to provide catering to the mine workers described being
struck by a physical pressure that forced him to drop what he was
carrying; only after he prayed did the sensation disappear. Several
months earlier, according to another account, a village leader who had
accepted bribes from the mining company died suddenly, and a member of
his family was seriously injured in an accident.

He Ran Gao, a researcher who works for the Chinese NGO Green Earth
Volunteers and has been closely involved with the communities of the
area, described the context of these supernatural accounts. "In a place
like Tibet, people have an unusual sense of divinity in nature, based on
a whole system of worship and interaction, which sometime seems
superstitious to modern citizens," she said. "But it is not necessarily
irrational or unreasonable."

This sense of nature worship, Gao said, with its attendant conservation
values, is "barely left due to past communism and later economic
development." But in the Himalayas and other mountain areas, where
non-Han ethnicities reside and remain somewhat protected, those
traditional values can still be found. She described Kawagebo as a
success story showing "how sacred nature can be" and how it can "still
be respected, protected and continue to make an impact in people�s lives."

Unfortunately, Abin is but one of many villages threatened by mining
activities�in most other cases, marble quarrying�and a greater
overarching threat to the region: hydroelectric dam development.

Along the Nu (Salween) River, the longest free-flowing river in mainland
Southeast Asia, a proposed 13-dam cascade�including several dams in or
very close to the World Heritage site�would wipe out portions of the
pilgrimage route around Mount Kawagebo and displace the communities of
the river valley, likely dealing a blow to their traditional culture as
well. Although the project was put on hold in 2004 in the wake of
widespread protest, it is certainly not dead.

Last year, the World Heritage Committee issued a statement expressing
concern over reports of unapproved construction under way at one dam
site on the Nu River, and surveying work�including road-building and
drilling�at three others. It warned that "the many proposed dams could
cumulatively constitute a potential danger to the property�s Outstanding
Universal Value."

The committee asked China to submit by February 1 of this year a
detailed list of all proposed dams, as well as mines, that could affect
the World Heritage property, along with the environmental impact
assessments of any proposed projects, prior to their approval. The
committee also requested, by the same deadline, a report on the state of
conservation of the property and on the progress made in completing a
strategic environmental impact assessment on all of the proposed dams
and related development that could impact the site�s World Heritage value.

Many thanks to He Ran Gao, who provided reporting and other source
material for this report. He Ran wishes to thank villagers who provided
her with information, but whose names have been witheld.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Announcement: New report surveys Chinese finance in Latin America

Announcement from the Center for International Environmental Law:


In a new report titled, “The New Banks in Town: Chinese Finance in Latin America” to be released tomorrow by the Washington-Based Inter-American Dialogue, GDAE Researchers Kevin P. Gallagher, Amos Irwin and Katherine Koleski estimate that since 2005 China has provided loan commitments upwards of $75 billion to Latin American countries.  China’s loan commitments of $37 billion in 2010 were more than the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the United States Export-Import Bank combined for that year.

After providing estimates of Chinese finance the authors also examine the common claims that Chinese loans to Latin America have more favorable terms, impose no policy conditions, and have less stringent environmental guidelines than the loans of International Financial Institutions and Western governments.  The authors find that the Chinese Development Bank loans carry more stringent terms than World Bank loans. China’s Ex-Im Bank, by contrast, generally offers lower interest rates than the U.S. Ex-Im Bank.  Chinese banks impose no policy conditions but do require equipment purchases and sometimes oil sale agreements.  Finally, they find that Chinese finance does operate under a set of environmental guidelines, but that these guidelines are not on par with those of their Western counterparts.

To attend a presentation of the report on February 17 by Kevin Gallagher in Washington DC visit:

Download the full report: The New Banks in Town: Chinese Finance in Latin America.

Read the Financial Times coverage of the report.

Find out more about GDAE’s work on China and Latin America.

Zachary Hurwitz
Policy Program Coordinator
+ 1 510 848 1155 x313 / skype: zacharyhurwitz
Fax: +1 510 848 1008
Follow us: Blog / Facebook / Twitter

International NGO coalition condemns Malaysian dam plans

International NGO coalition condemns Malaysian dam plans

(MIRI, SARAWAK/MALAYSIA) An international NGO coalition that includes
organizations from the US, Norway and Switzerland is showing its
solidarity with Malaysian groups who are protesting against the
construction of twelve hydroelectric dams in the Malaysian state of
Sarawak on Borneo. The NGO coalition supports the Malaysian groups'
demand for an immediate halt to the realization of these dams, which
threaten to displace tens of thousands of Sarawak natives and flood
hundreds of square miles of Sarawak's precious tropical rainforests.

The Bruno Manser Fund, International Rivers (US), Borneo Project (US),
Rainforest Action Network (US) and the Rainforest Foundation Norway are
emphasizing the adverse social and ecological consequences of the
planned dams and question their economic viability. Just a handful of
companies connected to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his
family are likely to benefit from these projects, due to their
involvement in the construction business, while the Sarawak public would
have to cover the costs in form of long-term state debts.

At a press conference in Miri yesterday, the recently founded 'Save
Sarawak's Rivers' network, under the lead of its chairperson Peter
Kallang, announced the start of the local protests against the planned
twelve dams in the Sarawak rainforest: 'The construction of the dams
will not bring development to the people directly affected but it does
bring severe and permanent damages to the whole environment and to the
community at large. Development for the people must be for the immediate
and above all, long term good of all the people and not just a few, who
own shares in power generation and big corporations.'

The Save Sarawak Rivers Network was formed in October 2011 by people
affected by the planned or already realized dams together with concerned
individuals and local NGOS in order to fight the construction of
mega-dams and protect the rivers of Sarawak – the lifeline of its
peoples. A first conference will be held in Miri, Sarawak, from 16 to 18
February 2012. Native communities affected by the dam projects will
gather to share information, raise awareness and coordinate their
state-wide struggle against the twelve planned dams. The conference will
voice the disagreement of the Sarawakians, and especially that of the
affected communities, with their government's policy of building the
proposed dams without giving them a chance to express their opinion on
these projects.

With the completion of the largest dam in Asia outside of China, the
Bakun dam, with its capacity of 2,400 Megawatts and the additional
900-Megawatt Murum dam, which is currently under construction, Sarawak
will be producing massive amounts of surplus power. The state's current
electricity consumption only rises to 972 Megawatts during periods of
peak demand.

Experience with the recently-completed Bakun dam has shown the
unwillingness of the Sarawak state government to comply with
international human rights and environmental standards such as the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Close to
ten thousand natives of the Bakun river system were displaced without
having been properly consulted and compensated. Transparency
International even labeled the highly controversial Bakun dam a
"Monument of Corruption".

(15th February 2012)

This is International Rivers' mailing list on China's global footprint, and particularly Chinese investment in
international dam projects.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

China lends more than $75bn to Latin America

Original source:

China lends more than $75bn to Latin America
February 15, 2012
Financial Times
By John Paul Rathbone in London

Chinese state banks have lent more than $75bn to Latin America since
2005, and in 2010 gave more than the World Bank, Inter-American
Development Bank and US Ex-Im Bank combined, according to a report which
highlights China's growing financial heft in the region.

"On the positive side, it is clear that China is a new and growing
source of finance in Latin America," notes the independent academic
report, New Banks in Town: Chinese finance in Latin America.

"That said, and contrary to much commentary on the subject, by and large
Latin American nations have to pay a higher premium for loans from China."

China has overtaken the US to become Brazil and Chile's largest trade
partner. Many US policymakers fear that Beijing is using cheap rate
loans to "buy" influence among left-leaning Latin American governments
that are hostile to western interests, and that Beijing uses financing
to secure long term commodity supplies.

But in just one example, the China Development Bank, which accounts for
the bulk of China's Latin American lending, extended a $10bn credit to
Argentina in 2010 at the London Interbank Offered Rate plus 600 basis
points. In the same year, the World Bank lent Argentina $30m at Libor
plus 85 basis points.

"Some on the left say China's rising importance in Latin America is
driven by an ideological desire to boost South-South ties. Others on the
right say that China is buying influence with cheap money," said Boston
University's Kevin Gallagher, one of the report's co-authors.

But as the loans, while blessed by the party in Beijing, are executed by
commercially orientated state banks, "neither view is quite true," he said.

Loans for oil, such as a $20bn deal with Venezuela in 2010, also use
market prices. Although these loans are among the most controversial, as
funds can be spent largely at the borrowing government's discretion,
securing commodity supplies with long term credit and technological
support is nothing new: Japan cut similar deals with China in the 1970s.

"Now the Chinese are replicating the Japanese format in Latin America.
It worked for them," said Mr Gallagher. The US and China agreed on
Tuesday to begin talks on setting guidelines for export-credit financing
which could bring Beijing within rules used by member countries of the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Chinese loans to Latin America, which account for more than half
Beijing's international lending, accelerated in 2009 as China took
advantage of the withering of alternative credit sources during the
global financial crisis to project its influence abroad.

By 2009, Latin American loans reached $18bn, from under $1bn before
2008, and by 2010 topped $36bn. Total net credit flows to the region
totalled $63bn in 2009 and $143bn in 2010, according to separate figures
from the Institute of International Finance.

China proved an especially valuable alternative credit source for
defaulted sovereign borrowers that cannot access international capital
markets, such as Argentina and Ecuador which, ironically, are among the
most vocal critics of globalisation. Critics add that China's focus on
commodities increases the "dependency" exploitation denounced by
leftwing development economists four decades ago.

"But the biggest risk may be the way many Chinese assistance deals and
contracts are cut � behind closed doors, and motivated exclusively by
Chinese commercial interest � which can breed public and private
corruption," said Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at the
Americas Society and Council of the Americas, a US-based political and
business forum.

Indeed, China's growing presence has started to prompt a regional
backlash. Latin American manufacturers increasingly complain that their
industries are being hollowed out by cheap Chinese exports. A proposed
2010 lease of 320,000 hectares in Argentina's Rio Negro province has
been also been put on hold, while Brazil has placed a ceiling on the
amount of land foreign owners can buy.

Additional reporting by Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

This is International Rivers' mailing list on China's global footprint, and particularly Chinese investment in
international dam projects.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Apply to be a 2012 IAP Research Fellow!

A fellowship opportunity from our friends at the International
Accountability Project:

Dear friends,

Help us spread the word! IAP is now entering its sixth year of our
Summer Research Fellowship program--an incredible opportunity for
passionate and capable graduate students to be part of substantive work
for development justice.

This year, two Fellows will spend the summer researching renewable
energy initiatives in Bangladesh and Vietnam, and one Fellow will work
with IAP's partners in India.

Check out the posting below--and please forward to any special contacts
or lists!

Our ideal candidates would have:

* experience doing grassroots advocacy work/community organizing in
the Global South
* passion, humility and initiative
* experience working in South Asia or Vietnam

More info in the posting below...

*Apply to be a 2012 Research Fellow with International Accountability
Project! *

*/Applications due February 28th!/*

International Accountability Project works to defend the rights, land
and livelihoods of people threatened by destructive development
projects. Working with grassroots and international partners, IAP
advocates for international policies that respect the rights and
livelihoods of people and supports communities to hold their ground and
defend their homes, environment and human rights.

*About the Fellowship*:For 2012, IAP seeks 2-3 Summer Research Fellows
to work in two of our program areas. IAP seeks one or two Summer
Research Fellow(s) with a strong interest in renewable energy,
environmental or public policy and sustainability in international
development. Fellow(s) will conduct a scoping study of organizations,
individuals and institutions involved in research and promotion of
renewable energy in either Bangladesh or Vietnam. This study will lay
the groundwork for IAP efforts to promote partnerships between
grassroots communities facing destructive energy-sector development
projects and ongoing work on renewable energy alternatives. If fellow(s)
is interested, some additional work related to IAP�s ongoing campaigns
may be incorporated into the work plan.

In addition, IAP seeks one Summer Research Fellow with experience
working with grassroots networks and capacity building programs. The
Fellow will participate in two projects. In the first, the Fellow will
conduct outreach and gather feedback from community partners who
participate in field-testing a popular education resource, /A Community
Action Guide to the Asian Development Bank: Making Safeguard Policies
Work for Justice/. In the second, the Fellow will help to support
efforts by communities and NGOs to monitor investments by the
International Finance Corporation (the private sector lending arm of the
World Bank). Both projects will be conducted in India.

IAP�s Summer Research Fellowships are a unique opportunity to conduct
hands-on research on pressing human rights and environmental justice
issues in international development. Fellows will work with IAP staff to
develop their research plans and deliverables prior to departure, and
they will be supported with regular communication during their time abroad.

The Fellowship program is 10-11 weeks of full-time work, including a
two-week orientation in IAP's offices in San Francisco, CA, 7-8 weeks in
the field, and then a one-week wrap-up back at the office. Start date
is flexible but ideally in early June.

Fellowship positions are open to currently enrolled graduate students
with coursework and work experience in the issues IAP works to address.

*Funding*: We encourage candidates to explore opportunities for partial
or full funding through their graduate programs, to enable travel and
work with IAP partners in the Global South. IAP will make every effort
to supplement funding as needed to cover project and travel costs.
/Unfortunately, all fellowship positions are unpaid at this time. /

*Application process: *To apply, please submit a CV and cover letter on
what motivates your interest to work with IAP on this project to:
<>. In your letter, please
indicate the project for which you wish to apply. If you are interested
in the renewable energy project, please indicate whether your interest
is limited to one of the two countries, or if you would be open to
either option.

Applications are due Tuesday, February 28th, 2012.

Feel free to email or call the office (415.659.0555
<tel:%28415.659.0555>) with any questions.

Thank you for your interest in our work!

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

BHP not to build Congo plant, setback for hydro plan

BHP not to build Congo plant, setback for hydro plan

Feb 15, 2012
* BHP says will not pursue Congo smelter

* Decision deals blow to Inga 3 hydro project

* Congo says confident of finding other backing

By Jonny Hogg and Bate Felix

KINSHASA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton's decision to abandon plans
for an aluminium smelter in the Democratic Republic of Congo could
create problems for the planned Inga 3 hydro power project, the energy
minister said on Wednesday.

"The problem is real but there are alternative solutions," Energy
Minister Gilbert Tshiongo told Reuters, but added the government was
confident of finding other backing for the project.

"There are other clients, there is the domestic demand, there is
demand also from the exterior. Inga was not mainly for the exterior
but for interior consumption," Tshiongo said.

BHP spokesman Ruban Yogarajah told Reuters from London that the
company had studied the construction of the smelter, which would have
been powered by the planned hydro project.

"However the company has chosen to not continue the project, which was
still at a very early stage, following a review of its economics,"
Yogarajah said in an e-mail.

He noted BHP would not have been the only customer of the power project.

The Inga project is estimated to cost $8-$10 billion and produce some
3,500 to 7,000 megawatts on the Congo river. The plan has been stalled
for several years with the African Development Bank warning over the

Only about 9 percent of the vast minerals-rich central African
nation's 70 million inhabitants have access to electricity. That is
one of the lowest rates in Africa and the government has vowed to
double the figure by 2015.

A mining boom in the southern province of Katanga has put serious
strain on the country's power resources, with the country's energy
deficit set to rise.

The Inga 3 project is one of the largest proposed power projects in
Africa and seen as crucial to providing sufficient power by 2020 and
spurring Congo's economic growth.

Congo's multitude of rivers offer enormous hydropower potential but a
lack of infrastructure and difficult business climate have made it
difficult to find investors.

The government last year said Inga 3 was planned to come on line in
2018 as part of a drive to reverse the country's energy deficit and
increase production fivefold to 5,132 megawatts by 2020 from 996 last

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Uganda hydro dam plan hits funding, technical snags

Uganda hydropower plant plan hits funding, technical snags
10th February 2012

Plans by Uganda to start building the planned 700 MW Karuma hydropower project this year have been thrown into jeopardy, following disagreements with would-be financiers over the design and capacity of the plant.

Days after the East African nation abolished subsidies in the energy sector, prompting a huge rise in the cost of electricity, the potenial financiers, including the Germany Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, stated that it was not realistic that the water flow at Karuma would sustain the generation of 700 MW.

They argued that it did not make economic sense for Uganda to invest heavily in the project when it was clear the plant would only achieve full capacity during specific periods. The project has a $1.3-billion price tag.

They also contended that the feasibility study, commissioned by the Uganda government, did not "comprehensively capture the project's complex technical, financial and environmental issues". The feasibility study was undertaken by Energy Infratech, of India.

Instead of proceeding with the project, the would-be financiers want the plant scaled down to between 400 MW and 450 MW. They have also offered to finance another feasibility study into the project.

But Uganda, which has identified the planned power plant as one of the high-priority projects in its National Development Plan and as the ultimate solution to Uganda 's persistent energy problems, has vowed to proceed with construction, even if the lenders withdraw their support.

The Uganda government has already committed $521-million to the project in the 2011/12 Budget. An additional $300-million has been mobilised through the Energy Investment Fund, set up at the central bank in the 2006/7 financial year.

Although Uganda is confident it can raise the $1.3-billion required for the project, even if the current would-be financiers refuse to participate, projections show the cost of the project could surge to $2.2-billion by the time it is completed, an eventuality that might see the project stall midway.

"We are determined to proceed with the project because, if we listen to them, it will never get off the ground," says Uganda Minister of State for Energy Simon Dujanga.

He added that Uganda is comfortable constructing the project based on its current design of high installed capacity even with the generation capacity fluctuating, depending on weather patterns.

Uganda initially intended starting construction of the plant in May this year.

The project will entail the construction of a 600 MW to 700 MW hydropower facility located about 3 km upstream of the Karuma bridge and 80 km downstream of Lake Kyoga, on the Nile river.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bright Days: How India Is Reinventing Solar/Time Magazine

Bright Days: How India Is Reinventing Solar

By Niharika Mandhana | February 13, 2012 | +

In 2009, when policymakers in New Delhi set a goal to produce 20,000
megawatts of solar energy by 2020, few gave India more than a slim
chance. The world�s solar-savvy countries put together were generating
that much solar power at the time, and India was contributing
virtually nothing. But today, with acres of land in its arid, sun-
drenched northwest carpeted with thousands of gleaming solar panels,
analysts say India is poised to exceed its target. And the most
tangible indicator of this makeover is money. In the last year,
funding for solar projects in India increased seven-fold, from $0.6
billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2011, a new Bloomberg New Energy
Finance report said.

On paper, India has always had a good case for going solar. Several
parts of the country are endowed with an abundance of raw material �
as many as 300 days of sunshine a year � much to the envy of cloud-
enveloped Germany and Spain; it has vast tracts of under-utilized land
on which to embed rows upon rows of solar panels; the country�s
growing and grossly underserved population and expanding industry are
hungry for electricity. But the deal breaker, solar�s classic
Achilles� heel, had always been the cost factor; solar is expensive �
considerably more expensive than the alternatives, coal and wind � and
a seemingly extravagant venture for a developing nation struggling
with double-digit poverty and ruinous public health. For years, the
global solar industry has piggybacked on generous subsidies from
governments � inevitably developed and wealthy � willing to foot an
enormous bill to develop clean energy. India never quite fit into this
elite club.

But last year, the promise of affordable solar came one step closer to
becoming a reality. First, the global price of solar panels and
modules that turn sunlight into electricity plummeted 30 to 40
percent, triggered by a massive expansion in China � home to the
world�s leading panel makers � and a supply surplus owing to tepid
demand from Europe. While this brought doom to American manufacturers
unable to compete with China�s prices, it proved transformative for
the industry by making solar infrastructure more accessible. Germany
added a record 7.5 gigawatts of panels in 2011, more than double the
government�s target. In the United States, grid-connected solar
installations in the third quarter of 2011 grew 140 percent over the
previous year. Indian developers too decided to join the party.

Then India veered from the global story by departing from the fixed-
price subsidy framework. In countries like Germany, Spain, the U.K.
and U.S., governments subsidize solar power by agreeing to buy it at
fixed prices for several years � a model described by solar skeptics
as unsustainable and wasteful, the Economist writes. Backed by the
government, solar capacities have been ramped up exponentially over
the years. But this arrangement began to buckle when governments,
faced with growing budget deficits and an economic crisis, started
cutting subsidies, pulling the rug from under solar�s feet.

As early as 2009, Spain rolled back its subsidy program by reducing
the money it paid for solar electricity and capping the amount of
subsidized solar power installed each year, the Wall Street Journal
reported. Following the crash in panel prices, Germany and the U.K.
have been wrestling industry lobbyists to accelerate subsidy cuts. The
U.S. too grapples with solar�s classic chicken and egg conundrum:
developers say prices of solar energy will get competitive soon, but
to achieve this they need to scale-up, for which they need generous
government subsidies. Hitting at the heart of the matter, Spanish
minister Jose Manuel Soria recently said, �What is today an energy
problem could become a financial problem.�

India imported all these debates and problems when it entered the
solar subsidy game. Driven by its ambitious new solar policy, the
government agreed to buy solar power at 17.91 rupees (36 cents) for a
kilowatt-hour. (India�s coal-generated energy costs 3 to 4 rupees, one-
fourth the cost of solar.) But to their surprise, they received an
overwhelming response from developers � Indian and overseas alike.
That�s when India set up a reverse auction process, making developers
compete for its business. In an auction in December � the second of
two � over 100 producers bid to sell solar power to a state-owned
utility. The lowest bid was 7.49 rupees (15 cents) per kilowatt-hour,
less than half of what the government had offered in the beginning and
about 30 percent cheaper than the global average for solar projects,
Bloomberg writes. The average bid price was 8.77 rupees (18 cents) per
kilowatt-hour. Germany, the world�s biggest solar-power user, pays
upwards of 17.94 euro cents (23 American cents) per kilowatt-hour,
according to the New York Times.

�The Indian experiment has been very successful,� says Tobias
Engelmeier of Bridge to India, a New Delhi-based consultancy. Not only
has India made its solar program viable, he said, but has also set a
precedent by increasing competitive pressure on developers who he
believes have been far too comfortable for way too long. He expects
solar power in India to become competitive as early as 2016.

While solar energy is getting more attractive, what�s tilting the
Indian energy market further is that coal is becoming more elusive. As
the Economist notes, by 2017 domestic coal production in India will
meet only 73% of demand, making imports imperative. Some $7 billion
has already been spent in the past six years on acquiring coal pits in
Australia, Indonesia and Africa. To ensure energy security, many in
India also rely on back-up generators powered by diesel that costs
between 12 and 25 rupees (24 and 40 cents), prices solar has already

This dramatic fall in prices has, however, raised some questions: are
these projects, almost too good to be true, financially feasible?
Analysts warn a weeding-out process is in the offing. Lured by solar�s
glowing prospects, dozens of inexperienced developers and start-ups
bid aggressively in the auctions and may not be able to deliver the
goods at those prices, they say. Add to that the typical menu of hick-
ups and teething problems: licenses and permits, land acquisition and
evacuation, and financing.

Nevertheless, solar �looks like it will be a significant source of
energy� going forward, says Alan Rosling, co-founder of Kiran Energy,
a solar developer whose story mirrors India�s own growth trajectory.
Just over two years old, the company now owns plants sprawled across
125 acres and has bagged contracts (a majority of them through
competitive bidding) for 75 megawatts of solar power. Setting the bar
high, Rosling says solar will have �truly arrived� in India when
developers can sell it to anyone at a competitive price without
relying on the government exchequer.

Read more:

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

Friday, February 10, 2012

China Gezhouba secures US$1.4 billion contract in South Sudan (Bedden Hydropower Project)

China Gezhouba secures US$1.4 billion contract in South Sudan
(Bedden Hydropower Project)

1 February 2012

China Gezhouba Group Co Ltd, the main contractor of the Three Gorges
Hydroelectric Project, today said that it has signed a contract worth
nearly US$1.4 billion or RMB 8.87 billion to build a hydropower station
in South Sudan.

The project, which is designed to have an installed capacity of 540
megawatts, is expected to be completed in 80 months or seven years with
a powerhouse and several dams for electricity generation.

At the end of the first year, China Gezhouba is estimated to complete
12.15% of the total project, and then 17.95%, 21.46%, 18.93%, 13.02%,
10.58% and 5.91% of the entire project in the remaining six years,
respectively, said analysts.

Investors of the projects intend to acquire loans from Bank of China,
which is still subject to the approval of both the Chinese and the South
Sudanese governments.

Last month, Shanghai-listed China Gezhouba started construction on a
554-kilometer railway project worth US$160 million in East Nigeria. The
project would be completed in eight months and is part of a 2,119-km
railway project.


Further information from Gezhouba about the signing ceremony (in

Technical details of the project:

This is International Rivers' mailing list on China's global footprint, and particularly Chinese investment in
international dam projects.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit: