CORRECTED-Glencore invests in Congo hydropower as solution to blackouts

Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:39am EST
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(Corrects to make clear that Mutanda and Kamoto are separate mines)

* Copper-rich Katanga province gets half the power it needs

* Leading Congo mines invest millions in their own power

* Govt sees Inga 3 project filling broader deficit by 2020

By Aaron Ross

KINSHASA, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Glencore and its partner in Congo are ploughing $360 million into refurbishing the African nation's main hydroelectric plant as mining companies seek ways to overcome power shortages that are holding back projects.

Mining investment has poured into Democratic Republic of Congo since 2006, after the 1998-2003 war ended and an election drew a line under decades of dictatorship. Last year, Congo beat out Zambia to become Africa's main copper producer with output of 914,631 tonnes.

But companies seeking to tap some of the world's biggest undeveloped mineral reserves say power shortages are preventing development.

Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo told companies in January to halt any expansion plans that require extra power in the southeastern mining heartland of Katanga province.   Continued...