Salini Impregilo has been assigned the first lot of work worth $1.95bn (£1.5bn) to build what will reportedly be the world’s tallest dam in Tajikistan.
The complete package to build the Rogun dam as part of the larger hydroelectric project, comprises four lots and is worth a total of £2.9bn.
The Italian contractor said that the contracts for the three remaining lots were expected to be assigned to the group by the end of September.
The 335m high rockfill dam has a clay core and will be built on the Vakhsh River in Pamir, one of Central Asia’s main mountain ranges.
It said that the first package of work would include the diversion of the Vakhsh River which will be spilt into two diversion tunnels to keep the foundations of the dam dry. Salini said that that this alone was a very complex task due to the strength of the river and it can only be carried out during the winter months when the mountains are covered in snow and the water level is lower.
Once completed, the plant’s energy will be produced by six, 600MW turbines which will have an installed power of 3,600MW (the equivalent of three nuclear plants) when operating at full capacity.
The contractor said that Rogun will double energy production in Tajikistan, and reduce power shortages during the winter months. It said that the project will also increase agricultural activity through irrigation thanks to a more efficient use of water.