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General News
80-megawatt barge arrives to support Akosombo 4/3/2007
Tema, March 29, GNA - An emergency 80-megawatt barge procured by a consortium of mining companies has arrived at the Tema Port as part of efforts to beef up energy requirements due to depleting water levels in the Akosombo Dam.

It would be providing power in three months during which Newmont engineers would install and test the facility to meet expected capacities.

The consortium led by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited includes Gold Fields Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Star Resources. The barge would be located at the New Tema VRA Sub-Station near the Tema Oil Refinery.

Briefing journalists at the Tema Port, Mr Joshua Mutoti, Newmont''s Energy Manager, said the 45 million-dollar barge is the consortium''s contribution to stabilizing the power rationing programme. The Volta River Authority (VRA) embarked on a power-rationing programme last August following depleting water resources of the Akosombo Dam, which is currently at 237.60 feet, far below the minimum operating level of 240 feet.

The Akosombo Dam started commercial production of electricity in 1965.

Mr Mutoti said the programme to bring in the barge was in consultation with the VRA and the Electricity Company of Ghana. He said, 93electricity was not in our line of business, but we are concerned about the energy situation in the country and putting in our widow''s mite".

Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said it was important to recognise that in a period of such difficulty, Ghanaians could come together to put their minds together on how to change the situation and offer support that could reverse the situation.

Ghana News Agency investigations revealed that the 80-megawatt barge consumes 700,000 litres of diesel a day translating into 6.3 million dollars a day.

Mr Chris Anderson, Communications Manager, Africa Region for Newmont, said the barge was one-and-a-half times the capacity for Tema and would be available to all Ghanaians, but would have the four companies as priority.

He explained that in the event where the four companies could not have access to the power so generated, "we would have no option but to fall into the load-shedding programme as all others".

Dr Tony Aubynn, Communications Manager of Gold Fields Ghana, said he was happy that they were in the position to contribute to a national emergency and expressed the hope that work would go on as scheduled to bring the barge on stream in the next three months.

President John Agyekum Kufuor last February in his State of The Nation Address outlined a number of emergency actions to arrest the deteriorating energy situation that had contributed to the shut down of major industries including the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), a host of other manufacturing concerns and an acute load-shedding exercise.



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