Chinese consortium CNEEC-Sinohydro has commenced the construction of NGN162.9bn ($1bn) Zungeru hydroelectric power project in Niger State, 31 years after the project was planned in 1982.

The 700MW project was launched by National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) by awarding the project to a consortium formed for the development of the project.

Ground breaking ceremony was in line with consortium’s schedule after they announced the commencement of the project was due to 28 May 2013.

Talking at the ground breaking event, Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan stated that the project that was proposed in 1982 was suspended due to financial constraints to fund the development.

Jonathan, further, added that the commencement of the project is an historic event, besides listing employment opportunities, agricultural development, and tourism as benefits from the dam.

Meanwhile, Minister of Power Chinedu Nebo claimed that the country has secured funds of $1.72bn for three projects – Zungeru Hydroelectricity, Gurara 2 Dam in Suleja all in Niger State, and the Mambilla Dam in Taraba.