By PETER ESILA
WORK on a K3 billion hydro-power project in Eastern Highlands will begin in March, creating around 900 jobs and many spin-off benefits, says Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister William Duma.
The 180-megawatt Ramu Two project, the largest power project in the country, is located downstream from the Yonki Dam on Ramu River near Kainantu.
IT is expected to increase the Ramu system capacity by more than 200 per cent and the national generation capacity by 33 per cent.
China’s Shenzhen Energy Group owns 70 per cent of the consortium while 30 per cent is owned by the State, provincial government and landowners.
But Duma said that after 25 years, “we will own it 100 per cent”.
“We are building for the future. The State, the Eastern Highlands provincial government and the landowners will then have this multi-billion hydro-power infrastructure that will continue to operate for a further 75 years. It will continue to offer a long-term least-cost power to the country.”
Duma said employing locals would depend on the needs of the consortium.
“At some phase of the construction, depending upon their needs, we will look at employing our people and also the spin-off activities. Locals will be able to provide services to the construction company.”
The project is structured to supply electricity to the Wafi-Golpu and Ramu Nico mines and the people living within the Ramu system. It is also expected to benefit other districts in the province, Morobe and Madang.
Shenzhen Energy Group president Pingyang Wanghe said the project would take 68 months to complete.
He said it was a strategic project in the South Pacific and commercial operation should begin by November 2024.
“We believe that this project will increase the energy supply of PNG, technology for the business and energy sector, including the generation, transmission and distribution to increase the efficiency, plus reliable, cheaper and renewable energy supply in PNG,” Wang said.
Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited managing director Darren Young said the 900 jobs would be created during the construction phase.
He said the commercial agreement will be submitted to the National Executive Council for approval before construction began.
By PETER ESILA