Bahrain's incinerator project to be re-tendered
Manama, July 8, 2014
New investors will be given the chance to present their ideas for a multi-million dinar incinerator that could solve Bahrain's waste issues.
An agreement with France-based CNIM Group, which dates back to 2008, has been terminated by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry and will be re-offered through a new tender in the next six weeks, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Under the terminated deal, the planned factory near the Askar landfill site, would have dealt with an estimated 150,000 tonnes of waste produced in Bahrain every year.
The firm pledged to raise $450 million to build and operate a waste-to-energy plant for the first 25 years, employing hundreds of people from France and Bahrain.
In return, the ministry agreed to pay the company BD45 ($118.7) per tonne of waste disposed.
In July 2011, the company submitted an environmental impact assessment report to the Supreme Council for Environment - the last stage of the planning process, but the French Embassy claims the council never responded despite being given 60 days.
However, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi said they tore up the contract because the company failed to address environmental concerns.
"We will re-tender the project, which we believe is important considering the status of the Askar landfill that is forecast to be completely full within the upcoming few years," he said.
"Things have to be clear, CNIM's assessment was studied thoroughly and it didn't fulfil all requirements especially those concerned with the environmental aspect we have asked for.
"We have given them two six-month deadlines to resubmit a new study that takes into consideration our concerns, but this has never happened."
He said since the project had been delayed for six years the decision to allow other investors to put forth their ideas for the scheme had to be taken.
"Within six weeks a new tender for the project will be issued by the Tender and Auctions Board, for suitable replacements to CNIM," he explained.
"Qualified providers are being urged to submit their bids for the project, which we believe would be an overhaul to the way we deal with waste."
French Embassy economic counsellor Frederic Mettetal said the proposed plant would have transformed the energy contained in the waste into electricity delivered to the public grid of the Electricity and Water Authority.
He told the GDN that Posford Haskoning Environment Gulf, now known as Environment Arabia Consultancy Services, undertook a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project, which started in December 2010 and ended in January 2012.
"The EIA was undertaken as per World Bank standards and the Equator Principles and covered all potential environmental issues and mitigation measures," he said.
"CNIM is a respected French company that has 200 incinerators across the world and the termination of its contract certainly doesn't have to do anything with the environmental aspect and the ministry honestly has no real reason.
"The company needed an agreement licence from the ministry and it was not provided, despite being asked for several times, and this meant that investors didn't show an interest in financing the project." - TradeArabia News Service