POWERCHINA has a large footprint in Lesotho


Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) has a large footprint in Lesotho’s national infrastructure development.

POWERCHINA has entered into the Lesotho market since 2010 in the name of Sinohydro Corporation (Lesotho) Ltd., and participated in the bidding process of the infrastructure construction projects. In 2011, POWERCHINA was awarded and completed the Maitron Dam Project; and in 2018, POWERCHINA won the Contract LHDA 4012: Construction of the Polihali North East Access Road. And in 2022 the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II:Construction of Polihali Dam and Appurtenant Works, and Construction of Polihali Transfer Tunnel projects were awarded and are currently in the stage of construction.

For the current Phase II Polihali projects, South African President Ramaphosa pointed out that the project is a cross-border water conservancy project jointly established and managed by the governments of Lesotho and South Africa, as the largest bilateral infrastructure projects between the two countries. After completion, it can not only solve the problem of water shortage in South Africa, but also promote the development of electricity and water conservancy in the Kingdom of Lesotho, and promote the Kingdom of Lesotho to achieve self-sufficiency in electricity. It is a great project with marvelous significance. Local chiefs and local officials in Lesotho have expressed their full support for the projects, which are the largest in Lesotho at this stage in terms of their scale and benefits as well as its significance in creating jobs and improving the lives of the local people.

POWERCHINA is a wholly state-owned company set up on September 29, 2011 on the basis of 14 provincial (municipal, regional) electric power survey and design, engineering and equipment manufacturing enterprises formerly affiliated to Sinohydro Group Ltd., HydroChina Corporation, State Grid Corporation of China and China Southern Power Grid Company Limited.

POWERCHINA is an integrated construction group that provides investment and financing, planning design, engineering construction, equipment manufacturing and operation management for hydraulic and hydropower projects and infrastructure, and its principal businesses include energy and power and construction engineering (including survey, planning, design and project contracting), water ecological environmental governance and development and operation of other resources, real estate development and operation, and the manufacture and lease of related equipment. In addition, upon the authorization of relevant national ministries/commissions, POWERCHINA also undertakes functions such as national planning and review of hydropower, wind power, solar power and other clean energy and new energy sources. POWERCHINA ranks first in the global industry of electric power construction in terms of the planning, design and construction capability and performance.

POWERCHINA ranked 100th among the Fortune Global 500 and 29nd among the Top 500 Enterprises of China in 2022. POWERCHINA ranked first among the ENR Top 150 Global Design Firms, and first among Chinese-funded enterprises in 2022.

It ranked 5th among the ENR 2022 Top 250 Global Contractors.

POWERCHINA has a wealth of experience in international business management and core leading technologies, and possesses many well-known brands at home and abroad, including SINOHYDRO, HYDROCHINA, SEPCO, SEPCOIII, and HYPEC.

POWERCHINA currently actively advocates the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and organizes Lesotho employees to participate in local construction and integrates into local development in the form of volunteer services. POWERCHINA carries out “Technology for Life”, “Green for the Future” and “Love for the World” activities.

These activities help the local people overcome practical difficulties through support including hardship assistance, danger relief, charitable donation, assistance in education for public welfare, and other voluntary activities. These activities underscore China’s theme to promote and connect people through the “Belt and Road” initiative while simultaneously exemplifying responsible global corporate.

Public Eye’s SEEPHEEPHE Mahao (PE), who is currently in China, had an opportunity to visit POWERCHINA (PC) to conduct the following interview with the company’s Country Manager Lesotho Fu Jie:

PE: Most international companies taking part in the construction of Lesotho Highland Water Project (LHWP) phase II Polihali Dam are in joint ventures with local firms as per the agreement between Lesotho and South Africa as the investor of the project, which other companies are in joint venture with PowerChina in the dam construction and also in the construction of the delivery tunnel?

PC: For Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II:Construction of Polihali Dam and Appurtenant Works there are four JV members, and the names of each JV member are Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 8 Co., LTD.+Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 14 Co., LTD.+Unik Civil Engineering (Pty) Ltd+Nthane Brothers (Pty) Ltd

For Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II:Construction of Polihali Transfer Tunnel there are three JV members, and the names of each JV member are Yellow River Co., Ltd.+Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 3 Co., LTD.+Unik Civil Engineering (Pty) Ltd

Please note, Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 8 Co., LTD.+Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 14 Co., LTD.+Yellow River Co., Ltd.+Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 3 Co., LTD. are subsidiaries of PowerChina

PE: The overall project of the LHWP Phase II construction amounts close to M26 billion (USD 1.3 billion), how much is you stake in the project for both the dam and tunnel construction?

PC: For Dam project, we occupied 80% of the total contract value; while for the Transfer Tunnel project, we occupied 85% of the total contract value.

PE: I also notice that you have been doing noble gestures in the nearby villages, how much have you so far spent on corporate social responsibility initiatives and what were the items donated to the people of Lesotho?

PC: We have been fulfilling our social responsibilities in various ways such as providing financial support to local primary schools on specific occasions, organizing traffic safety awareness campaigns on campus, procuring products from local communities, inviting a China Medical Team to provide local villagers free medical examination and medication. Meanwhile, the project provided cooking oil, sugar, maize powder, etc. to these villagers. The medical team conducted a successful operation on a seven-year-old boy from the village under our sponsorship. We are going to continue fulfilling social responsibilities for the whole duration of the project.

PE: How many Basotho professionals and unskilled labourers has POWERCHINA employed in this LHWP Polihali project?

PC: For the dam project, there are 27 professionals and 158 unskilled labourers.

For the Polihali Transfer Tunnel, about 10% of the professionals are Basotho while over 610 unskilled Basotho labours have been employed.

PE: POWERCHINA previously took part in the construction of the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Programme, how was your experience and the challenges you encountered during this project? And what are the plans to overcome such challenges on this massive project of LHWP?

PC: Yes. The main challenges were lack of professional manpower, working and residence visas, and taking a long time to mobilize project equipment and materials. Our plan is to work closely and keep close communication with the employer and local authorities to find better solutions.

PE: As POWERCHINA International, do you have any plans to improve the power shortage in Lesotho by taking part in renewable energy projects?

PC: Yes. PowerChina is a strong Chinese National Enterprise which is professional in engineering, construction of energy projects as well as civil infrastructures. We have the marketing team which would concentrate on opportunities of new tenders in renewable sectors. 

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