The Inga plant was to provide about 5000MW of energy at an estimated cost of $5.2bn. Between 3500 and 4200MW would have been used for Congo’s internal demand, prioritising BHP’s proposed aluminium smelter, according to the Energy Ministry.

Mr Ruban Yogarajah, a BHP spokesman, told Reuters that the company had studied the construction of the smelter, which would have been powered by the planned hydro project.

"However the company has chosen to not continue the project, which was still at a very early stage, following a review of its economics," Yogarajah said in an e-mail.

He said BHP would not have been the only customer of the power project.

The Inga project is estimated to cost $8-$10bn and produce some 3,500 to 7,000MW on the Congo river. The plan has been stalled for several years with the African Development Bank warning over the cost.

Source Reuters