The World Bank today approved $340 million for a hydroelectric project that aims to benefit 62 million people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania – part of a Great Lakes regional initiative inaugurated by the Bank’s President and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their first-of-a-kind joint visit to the region in May.The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, which has a total cost of $468 million and an eventual 80 megawatt generation capacity, will boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of the three countries, reduce electricity costs and promote renewable power.It will also spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation, peace and stability among the countries of the Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) sub-region in east Africa, the Bank stated in a news release.“This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Colin Bruce, Director, Strategy, Operations and Regional Integration. “By connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyze growth and to encourage peace and stability in the sub-region.”The project is the first operation under the World Bank Group Great Lakes Regional Initiative, which was inaugurated during the visit by Mr. Ban and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in May. The joint visit was in support of a UN-brokered peace agreement signed earlier this year aimed at ending the cycles of conflict and crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to promote economic development in the region.In 2011, the Bank helped to provide electricity to an additional 1.4 million people in African countries; construct and repair some 6,640 kilometres of roads; and improved water supplies for more than 8 million people.“The Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project takes a regional approach to tackling sub-Saharan Africa’s power crisis, providing low-cost, clean, renewable energy to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region. “The new power plant signals the Bank’s commitment to keeping the lights on across the African continent, necessary for achieving growth, ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the region.”
Hecla Mining Co has entered into a toll milling agreement with Excellon Resources Inc in which sulphide ore from San Sebastian would be trucked 42 km to Excellon’s Miguel Auza flotation mill facility, in Zacatecas, Mexico, for processing.Under the terms of the agreement, Excellon will provide 440 t/d of milling capacity to Hecla and, in due course, the mill will be upgraded to include a copper flotation circuit.“This is a significant step towards extending the life of the San Sebastian mine, and is in keeping with our strategy of maximizing the cash flow and minimizing capital investment by using third-party facilities,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., Hecla’s President and CEO. “We will take a bulk sample in the third quarter and if it is positive could begin mining sulphide ore next year. San Sebastian sulphides have the potential for five years of mine life and considerable upside with the recent exploration discoveries. We hope to mine oxides and sulphides concurrently since this agreement does not impact the current arrangement where oxide ore from shallower depths of the mine is being processed at the third-party owned Velardeña mill.”The five-year agreement is subject to due diligence, the successful processing of a 4,400-t bulk sample of sulphide ore from the polymetallic Hugh Zone this summer, and receipt of any regulatory approvals and third-party consents. Hecla has an option to extend the agreement for an additional two years.