Lom Pangar Dam, Cameroon
While more than half of Cameroon's population waits for access to electricity, the government is intensifying efforts to build the Lom Pangar Dam, which would allow a major expansion of the Alucam aluminum smelter at the expense of residential consumers and local businesses. In 2011, the World Bank decided to support Lom Pangar Dam with a $100 million loan.
The Alucam smelter -- owned by mining multinational, Rio Tinto, and the Government of Cameroon -- already consumes about half of Cameroon’s electricity and is seeking to more than double its production while receiving favorable electricity rates far below what residential users pay. The government intends to use Lom Pangar Dam to regulate seasonal flows of the Sanaga River, allowing the construction of more hydrodams downstream, including the Nachtigal Dam set to be built and operated by Alcan for their expansion.
Cameroon is already 95% dependent on hydropower for its electricity and Lom Pangar would increase the vulnerability of Cameroon’s economy to drought, which could be worsened by climate change. Cameroon's small businesses and residential customers will remain at risk of blackouts and power shortages. Communities living near Lom Pangar would feel new strains on their already limited resources because of fishermen and others arriving in the area, increased hunting and farming in nearby protected forests, and increases in illness and disease. The dam’s reservoir would flood part of the World Bank sponsored Chad–Cameroon Pipeline and the protected Deng Deng Forest Reserve, home to a community of endangered gorillas.
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