Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest is preparing to develop the world’s largest hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Bloomberg, the billionaire, through his company Fortescue Metals Group, held talks with the DRC government to acquire the exclusive rights to develop the Grand Inga Dam.
The dam, which carries a $103.8-billion price tag, aligns with Forrest’s move to diversify the iron ore mining company into a global leader in green energy and green hydrogen over the next decade.
Forrest will raise about $100 billion in funding through his company and an array of international investors and lenders looking to participate in the green energy revolution.
The project will take off after an agreement is reached with the government and a bankable feasibility study is approved. The move is expected to pave the way for Fortescue to target new projects in Africa, focusing on Kenya and Ethiopia.
Forrest has been working on turning around the business model of Fortescue, the world’s number-four iron ore shipper. The move aligns with the company’s strategy, as it continues to look out for investment opportunities around the globe.
Earlier, the billionaire noted that the company will set aside 10 percent of its annual profit to invest in green initiatives.
Grand Inga Dam
When fully developed, the Grand Inga Dam will produce 42,000 megawatts of electricity. The production capacity will place the hydropower plant in a class of its own. It will generate more electricity than the world’s two largest hydropower plants combined, Three Gorges in China and Itaipu in South America.
The DRC now operates two dams. The government has been looking for investors as of late to begin building the Grand Inga Dam. Plans have also been made and discarded in recent years to construct a series of hydroelectric power stations on the Congo River.
According to Forbes, Forrest, one of Australia’s richest men, has a net worth of $21.6 billion.
He is the founder and largest shareholder of Fortescue Metals Group.
The billionaire derives the majority of his fortune from a 36-percent stake in Fortescue. He owns stakes in the company directly and indirectly through Minderoo Group and Forrest Family Investments.