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Australian company becomes biggest single investor in Nepal.

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Media release

Tuesday 8 October 2002 - MVT121/2002

Australian Company Becomes Biggest Single Investor in Nepal

Australian hydro-electric power company SMEC, famous for its Snowy Mountain Scheme origins, is on track to become the largest single foreign investor in Nepal following a deal to sell power to India, Trade Minister Mark Vaile announced today.

"The Cooma based SMEC Group is closer to realising the development of a $2 billion hydro-electric plant in Nepal with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding last week between SMEC West Seti Hydro-electric Corporation Ltd and the Power Trading Corporation of India Ltd," Mr Vaile said.

"The West Seti project will be the largest single foreign investment in Nepal and will generate foreign exchange for the country through sale of the energy.  The project consolidates Australia’s longstanding commercial relationship with both Nepal and India."

SMEC has been engaged in analysis and design for the proposed 750 MW West Seti hydropower plant in Nepal over several years. 

"By opening the way for India to purchase the energy, the MOU brings the project closer to implementation," Mr Vaile said.

"SMEC is to be congratulated on its approach to project development - an approach which has been commended by the World Bank.  In cooperation with the Government of Nepal, SMEC adhered to the most rigorous environmental standards in planning the design of the plant and conducted an extensive program of consultation with the affected communities."

The MOU commits the parties to negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement in accordance with broad technical and commercial parameters.  During the past few years SMEC has signed a series of agreements with the Government of Nepal giving the company exclusive rights to develop the project with private funding.  It was always planned that the energy from the plant would be sold to northern India.

Media Contact: Mark Croxford +61 02 6277 7420

This page last modified: Tuesday, 08-Oct-2002 15:42:53 EST

Local Date: Tuesday, 08-Oct-2002 15:56:41 EST