11 MW Azambi Hydroelectric Project

11 MW Azambi Hydroelectric Project

Kibali Goldmines S.A. (Barrick, AngloGold Ashanti, and Société Minière de Kilo-Moto)

Haut-Uele, Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Project concept optimized to provide low-impact, run-of-river operation, utilizing local materials, labourers, and contractors
  • Local consultation for infrastructure development, including transmission line, access roads, and bridges
  • Overall optimization of the project increased the project’s initial average annual energy estimation by approximately 5.3 GWh/year, equivalent to US$2.6 million per year in diesel fuel savings
Project Overview

The 11 MW Azambi Hydroelectric Project is located in a remote area of the Haut-Uele province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Kibali Gold Mine, which is operated by Barrick and owned by a joint venture company composed of Barrick, AngloGold Ashanti, and Société Minière de Kilo-Moto, has developed the project to support the increasing power demands of one of the largest gold mining operations in Africa.

Project Role

Knight Piésold assisted Kibali Gold Mine to develop a purpose-built, low-impact, and cost-effective run-of-river hydroelectric project, including project optimization, project development, detailed engineering, and construction and commissioning supervision. Services included:

  • Geotechnical investigations
  • Hydrology studies
  • Project optimization
  • Detailed design
  • Procurement
  • Construction monitoring and quality control
  • Commissioning

The project includes a low height diversion structure and overflow weir, a run-of-river power intake equipped with sediment handling facilities and control gates, a power canal and emergency spillway, headrace structures including fine trashracks and control gates, a surface powerhouse housing the turbine-generator units, a tailrace channel isolated from the main river, and a switchgear and transmission line.

The project produces approximately 64 GWh of renewable, reliable electricity each year to power the mine, reducing the mine’s overall energy cost by approximately 75% and its reliance on diesel fuel—equivalent to US$19.2 million per year in savings. A portion of the mine’s power grid capacity is provided for free to local communities, reducing their reliance on deforestation for energy supply. The project will ultimately become a legacy asset for future generations in the local communities once the mine has reached its end of life.

  • Award of Merit, Energy & Industry Category, 2019 ACEC-BC Awards for Engineering Excellence
  • Winner, International Project of the Year Category, 2019 SAICE Johannesburg Branch Regional Awards