Mambilla Hydropower Station Project funded by Chinese lenders, Nigeria

The four-dam hydro plant is the largest in the country and known as the African Three Gorges Dam. It will displace more than 100,000 people. International organizations fear increase in corruption


Mambilla Power Station is one of Africa's (and Nigeria's) biggest projected dam projects, which will be connected to three dams across the Donga River in Taraba State, Nigeria [3]. It was first conceived in 1972.

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Basic Data
NameMambilla Hydropower Station Project funded by Chinese lenders, Nigeria
ProvinceTaraba State
Siteacross the Donga River in Taraba State
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe project which is expected to cost $5.79 billion would be funded by the Nigerian government and Chinese lenders through the China Exim Bank, on the ratio of 15 and 85 per cent respectively.The main Mambilla Dam (3,050MW installed) is a large rolled compact concrete dam and reservoir at 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) above sea level. From this dam water is diverted off the reservoir towards the western side of the plateau through 3 hydraulic tunnels totaling 33 kilometres (21 mi), intercepted by 2 smaller dams (Sum Sum Dam and Nghu Dam), both at an elevation of 1,250 metres (4,100 ft). Beyond these dams, the tunnels lead into a 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) drop shaft tunneled down through the rock to a massive underground powerhouse with a generating capacity of 3,050 megawatts (4,090,000 hp). [2] Via a short tunnel, the water then exits the base of the plateau and flows into a tributary river that rejoins the Donga River downstream of the plateau.
Level of Investment (in USD)5,792,000,000 [2]
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100,000 displaced
Company Names or State EnterprisesChina Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd. from China
Sinohydro Corporation Limited (Sinohydro) from China
Energy China from China
Relevant government actorsCentral Government of Nigeria

Ministry of Power
International and Financial InstitutionsExport-Import Bank of China from China - China’s Export-Import Bank will provide 85 percent of the funding and Nigeria’s government will supply the remaining 15 percent for the joint venture
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersInternational Rivers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Forms of MobilizationOfficial complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Do you consider this as a success?No
Sources and Materials

[4] Sweet Crude reports - Nigeria admits failure to award Mambilla Hydro contract

December 26, 2013
[click to view]

Energy China - Contract for Mambilla Hydropower Station in Nigeria Signed

[click to view]

[3] Wikipedia - Mambilla Power Station
[click to view]

[1] Nigeria announces $5.8 billion deal for record-breaking power project

By Kieron Monks, CNN

September 15, 2017
[click to view]

[click to view]

[6] International Rivers - Money for Nothing (Or How Corruption Fuels Dam Building in Nigeria)

Thu, 03/20/2008
[click to view]

[5] Hydroworld - Nigerian government approves contract to build 3,050-MW Mambilla hydropower plant

ABUJA, Nigeria

[click to view]

Media Links

Announcement of Ministry of Power - Nigerian govt. approves construction cf $5.8bn Mambilla power project
[click to view]

Other Documents

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands in Beijing, during the former's state visit in 2016.

[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDaniela Del Bene, ENVJUSTICE project, ICTA-UAB
Last update14/02/2018