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Sierra Leone bioenergy project wins €133m loan

The bioenergy project will generate energy from sugarcane, ethanol and biomass.

By Isabella Kaminski

Addax Bioenergy has secured funding for the bioenergy and agriculture project, which will be based near Makeni in Sierra Leone. The €133 million (£117m) investment will go towards the development of a greenfield sugarcane plantation, the construction of an ethanol refinery and a biomass fuelled power plant, with the overall project being valued at €258m.

The bioenergy power plant will provide renewable electricity for the ethanol refinery and will supply approximately 20% of Sierra Leone’s national grid. According to the developers, it will be the first sugarcane ethanol project of its kind in Africa.

Construction of the ethanol refinery and bioenergy power plant will begin later this year, with production becoming operational in 2013. The project already employs over 700 people and will create more than 2000 jobs.

Law firm Eversheds and SNR Denton advised the Addax and Oryx Group on the signing of the loan by its subsidiary Addax Bioenergy with seven European and African development institutions.

Howard Barrie, Partner in Evershed’s Financial Institutions Group, says: “This financing agreement marks a further milestone for what is an important project for Sierra Leone. It places the country at the forefront of the development of biofuels projects on the continent and is already making a positive contribution to the lives of the local communities.”

The €133m loan is being funanced by, among others, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF).

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Bioenergy  •  Policy, investment and markets