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Fri, 17 Feb 2012 11:03 - Updated Fri, 17 Feb 2012 11:03

BHP Billiton withdraws custom

DR Congo Inga Three Dam

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DR Congo - A huge Congolese hydroelectric scheme has been dealt a blow by mining giant BHP Billiton's decision to abandon plans for an aluminium smelter.

The foundry would have been powered by the planned Inga Three hydro project, providing it with a major customer.

The firm said it decided to pull out after a review of construction costs.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's Inga Three would add to two existing dams on the Congo River, making it Africa's largest hydropower dam.

The project is seen as crucial to providing sufficient power by 2020 and spurring the country's economic growth.