An energy deficit in the Democratic Republic of Congo is set to widen from 110 MW to 132 MW in 2015 as the mining sector booms, the state supplier has forecast.

Mining companies are flocking to the central African state to develop substantial deposits of minerals such as copper and cobalt.

“The boom in the mining sector, principally in Katanga has led to a spectacluar increase in the demand for electricity,” Mbala Musanda, the head of national supplier SNEL, told a mining conference in Kinshasa.

Congo’s rivers are estimated to have potential for 100 GW of hydroelectric power but hydro plants and other infrastructure have suffered over years of conflict. The country is currently looking for a developer to build the 4.3 MW Inga 3 dam on the Congo, which is planned to come online in 2018.

Mining companies have shown an interest in developing energy infrastructure, including BHP Billiton for Inga 3.

The government hopes to double the 9 per cent of its population with access to electricity by 2015 but this would cost $6.5bn, according to the chief of staff for the energy ministry, Vika di Panzu.

Two Egyptian firms, Elsewedy Electric and Elsewedy Electrometer are also in negotiations over deals worth a total of $289m to provide power to residents in the capital Kinshasa, officials told Reuters.

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