New Zealand’s Contact Energy, which is in the midst of a takeover bid by majority shareholder Edison Mission, is to spend NZ$46m ($25.8m) to earthquake-proof and upgrade its Roxburgh hydro dam.

Contact Energy Clyde generation manager Graham Quinn said extensive engineering studies had been carried out on the 45-year-old hydro dam to ensure it met international safety standards.

“A facility as large and complex as Roxburgh needs to be regularly surveyed, and the investment Contact is making in this upgrade will contribute to extending the life of the dam,” Quinn said.

The project would involve replacing the existing concrete spillway-gate lifting structure with a new steel frame structure and replacing the existing winches with new hydraulic rams.

Design work on the project had already started and construction contracts would be let to complete the work during the next two years.

“Work is expected to start in April 2002 and the public will be notified if the road needs to be closed for a short period of time,” he said.

Two generators had already been refurbished and the remaining six would be upgraded over the next seven to eight years.

“They are over 40 years old, so they are due for an overhaul,” Quinn said.

“These upgrade projects mean that the Roxburgh Power Station will be well placed to continue generating for power for another 40 years.”