SARAJEVO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Bosnian mine operator Banovici has picked four companies for the final round of a qualifying tender to finance and build a 350 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in the Balkan country, the majority state-run company said on Friday.
The new plant will burn coal from the adjacent Banovici brown coal mines. Its construction is scheduled to start next year, and the plant is expected to connect to the grid by 2020.
Three of the bidders are Chinese companies Shanghai Electric Group Co., China Gezhouba Group and Dongfang Electric Corp., the mine’s General Manager Munever Cergic told Reuters.
A consortium led by Spain’s Abengoa SA, which includes China’s Harbin Electric, has also qualified for the next round of the tender, he added.
Last May, Banovici selected 11 qualified bidders out of 13 companies and consortia that had applied in the pre-qualification phase.
Dongfang Electric Corp. had placed the lowest preliminary bid, offering to build the plant for 388 million euros ($440.69 million), Cergic said.
He added that the mine would invite the bidders to submit their final technical and financial offers in the second half of 2015. It will pick the best offer by the end of 2015.
Banovici coal mines are among the largest in Bosnia with reserves estimated at 147 million tonnes and average annual output of 1.5 million tonnes.
The country obtains 40 percent of its electricity from hydropower and the rest from coal-fired plants, making it one of the few in the region capable of exporting power.
Chinese investors are boosting their presence in the Balkans, a potentially lucrative market with good links to the European Union. ($1 = 0.8804 euros) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Liisa Tuhkanen)