June 9, 2011 / 6:15 PM / 6 years ago

Sierra Leone says Bumbuna deal with Joule Africa

FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone confirmed on Thursday that Joule Africa, a member of California-based Joule Investments Group, would help it expand the Bumbuna hydroelectric project, clearing up confusion over the deal.

The project, which could more than quadruple the West African country’s generation capacity by 2017, was thrown into confusion when both Joule Africa and then iron ore miner African Minerals said they had signed a deal to expand Bumbuna.

“Joule Africa is the only company we have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with regarding the development of Bumbuna phase two,” Sheka Tarawalie, Sierra Leone’s deputy minister of information and communications, told reporters.

“I have to categorically state it here for all and sundry that this government does not engage in double-dealing.”

When contacted by Reuters after the government announcement, African Minerals had no comment.

Sierra Leone, which is still trying to rebuild after years of war, has one of the lowest power generation levels in sub-Saharan Africa, with less than 100 megawatts of capacity, half of which is generated by Bumbuna’s first phase.

Last month Joule Africa claimed their $750 million project would increase that figure to 400 MW by 2017.

Three days later African Minerals outlined similar intentions in a statement of its own that announced a deal with the China Communications Construction Company Limited.

The confusion has taken weeks to clear up, with the government repeatedly failing to provide a statement.

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