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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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Lesotho firm clinches M445m water project deal

A local company, LYMA Consulting Engineers, has made history after being part of a consortium that was awarded a lucrative M445 million contract for the design and construction supervision of the Polihali Dam.

The tender was awarded in terms of the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA), CEO Refiloe Tlali revealed on Tuesday that LYMA had been given the contract, the highest award to date in the project.

Phase 1 of the LHWP, consisting of the Katse and Mohale dams, the 'Muela hydropower station and associated tunnels was completed in 2003 and inaugurated in 2004. Phase II of the LHWP is currently in progress. It consists of two separate but related components: water transfer and hydropower generation.

The bilateral project which is estimated to cost at least M23 billion, is expected to provide about 3 000 jobs at the peak of its operations.

The water transfer component of Phase II comprises an approximately 165-m-high concrete-faced rockfill Dam at Polihali downstream of the confluence of the Khubelu and Senqu (Orange) Rivers and a ±38-km-long concrete-lined gravity tunnel connecting the Polihali reservoir to the Katse reservoir. Phase II activities include advance infrastructure (roads, accommodation, power lines and telecommunication, etc.) and the implementation of environmental and social mitigating measures.

Phase II is expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2024.

The Matla a Metsi consortium is a JV which includes LYMA, GIBB (Pty) Ltd and Mott MacDonald Africa (Pty) Ltd (both from South Africa) and Tractebel Engineering SA/ Coyne et Bellier from France and is called Matla a Metsi Joint Venture

Ms Tlali further stated that the joint venture was expected to review geotechnical and other project information, engineering the design of the Polihali Dam and appurtenant structures, procurement of construction contracts, supervising the construction on behalf of the client, skill development and technology transfer to Lesotho and South African nationals, and the training of the LHDA staff for the purposes of operating and maintaining the dam.

She added the contract was expected to be completed in the next 18 months. "If all goes according to plan, the construction of the Polihali Dam will commence either in December 2019 or January 2020." She said the dam impoundment process was expected to take place during the rainy season in 2023 so that water transfer to South Africa would commence at the end of 2025.

To date the project has awarded 17 consultancy contract awards with consultants currently at different stages of designing several works to be implemented by contractors.

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