DAR ES SALAAM, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania's forest watchdog said on Monday it has invited tenders for logging in an area earmarked for Stiegler's Gorge hydropower project in the Selous Game Reserve, the world's renowned wildlife area.
Dos Santos Silayo, Chief Executive of the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) Agency, said: "Our intention is to clear the project area before implementation of the project starts."
TFS has placed a tender invitation on its website inviting bids for logging of tradition standing trees with a total volume of 3,495,362.823 cubic meters in Rufiji district in Coast region.
"We opened the tenders for felling the trees so that they can be used for various purposes rather than destroying them," Silayo told Xinhua by telephone.
However, Silayo said the successful tenderer will not be allowed to export the logs as per regulation 50 (1) of the Forest Regulations of 2004 unless otherwise permitted subject to applying for and being granted a permit for the same by the minister responsible for natural resources and tourism.
Clearance of the area will pave way for the commencement of the grand hydropower generation project at the Stiegler's Gorge in the Selous Game Reserve scheduled to start in July this year.
Medard Kalemani, the Minister for Energy, said last month the 2,100MW hydropower project will see the construction of the largest dam in Tanzania along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve.
Kalemani said currently the government was building relevant infrastructure that will simplify the implementation of the project.
Kalemani said the Stiegler's Gorge power generation project was expected to completely end the country's power woes and sustain local industries with electricity and sell the surplus outside the country.
Tanzania, with a population of approximately 54 million, has just 1,500MW of installed grid capacity.
However, the Stiegler's Gorge project has been a significant concern for many years now due to its potential negative impact on the Selous Game Reserve, a world heritage site renowned for its animal populations and variety of wildlife habitats.