The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) now confirms the Tina River Hydro Power Development project has completed baseline studies at the end of last year and will start the implementation phase this year, 2014.
In a statement, MMERE, said the preparatory phase included Feasibility Studies, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, ESIA, a Traditional Land Identification Process and Benefit Share arrangement of the Project.
“The MMERE is very encouraged by the work that is being achieved by a dedicated project office on the Tina Project and is supporting the project team in pushing the project a head.”
“The Technical feasibility Studies have now confirmed this is a viable project with a selected dam site, a tunnel route and a power station site,” the statement added.
The Dam, tunnel and the power station will be optimised to determine the final parameters which will give the best economical return for the investment.
A technical report and a concept design will be finalised towards the end of this month.
Results of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies will be shared in a mitigation workshop expected early next month.
Work on the ESIA should eventually lead to the approval of a Development Consent for the project from the Ministry of Environment and also meeting safeguard requirements from the World Bank and international Financial Corporation.
On the Land process, the project has now finalised a Land identification (LID) process with the traditional owners of the project area. The LID process should provide a platform for an agreed statutory land acquisition process and should lead to the registration of the required Land for the project in 2014.
The project will work closely with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey and the Attorney General Chambers of the Ministry of Legal affairs to arrive at an agreed settlement for the Land owners of the project land.
The MMERE is also working closely with the World Bank in organising the discussion in regard to the benefit share of the project with the affected communities and Landowners. The Government has already agreed to offer part of the benefit gained from the project and this will be further discussed and agreed upon in 2014.
Having completed the above work streams, the project will start discussing the commercial arrangement with International Financial Corporation (IFC), Ministry of Finance (MOFT) and the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) on matters of contractual arrangement. This will lead to the securing of finance for the project in February 2014. This is an important aspect of this project as it is important that all financial implications on the Government are well understood before putting out the project to international tender.
The project will be advertised for international Tender in April this year, so a private developer can be secured by September. Once a developer is secured, construction should commence in the dry season of 2015 and continue to the end of 2016. This will ensure that the project is switched on at the end of 2016 or early 2017.
The collaboration between the different Ministries has seen the successful completion of the preparatory phase of the project and MMERE is encouraging continued support from other line Ministries as the project goes into the implementation phase.
“This is important to ensure that the project can be achieved within the time frame,” the Ministry said.