The government has identified land where a new city will be built as part of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric project outside Victoria Falls, an official has said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Gloria Magombo said authorities from Hwange Rural District Council, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Ministry of Local Government and Public Works are on the ground making preparatory work.
Engineer Magombo, however, could not reveal the exact location of the land and its size. She said:
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There is a lot of work that is being done in terms of the environmental disclosure after the finalisation of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Consultations were done during the COVID-19 lockdown period and all the input from various stakeholders has been received.
But there is also the issue of land for the project as you are aware last year Zimbabwe did approve the cession of the land but the land is now available.
ZPC, together with Hwange RDC and Local Government Ministry, is looking at coming up with a plan in terms of how the whole city will be developed and there is a lot of work that is already going on in this regard.
The US$4 billion Batoka Gorge hydropower project is being jointly implemented by Zimbabwe and Zambia in the gorges along Zambezi River which separates the two countries.
Two 1 200MW power plants on either side of the river, a sub-station, transmission as well as a new settlement and road infrastructure will be built.
As the implementing agent of the two countries, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), in 2019 chose General Electric and Power Corporation of China to build the power plant, about 50km downstream from Victoria Falls City.
Batoka Dam wall will be 175m high after it was reduced as a result of concerns by tour operators, particularly rafting companies in Victoria Falls, that water backflow would hurt their operations.
The power plant is expected to take about five years to complete but electricity generation should start in the third year.
Work had been scheduled to start in 2020 but was delayed following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.