The world’s tallest roller-compacted concrete dam – Gibe III – has been completed in Ethiopia, with an inauguration ceremony attended by the country’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

The $1.56 billion dam – the third in the Gibe complex – will generate up to 6,500 GWh, increasing the country’s electricity production capacity by at least 80%.

At a height of 250 m, Gibe III is not only Ethiopia’s largest, but also the first in the country to have been built using roller-compacted concrete.

It has a crest length of 630 m, and Salini used some 6.2 million m3 in its construction – equivalent to two-and-a-half times that used to build the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Over the course of the project, Salini has called on expertise from 32 countries, and some 20,000 Ethiopians were employed during various phases of construction.

Now fully operational, the dam’s 10 Francis turbines have a combined capacity of 1,870 MW, and the new reservoir has a capacity of 15 billion m3.

As the latest addition to the Gibe dam complex, Gibe III is set to work in harness with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), currently under construction by Salini.

By 2035, all four dams are expected to give Ethiopia a power generation capacity of up to 40,000.

At the Gibe III inauguration ceremony, Pietro Salini, CEO of Salini, said, “We are grateful to Ethiopian Electric Power and the Federal and Regional Governments, for dealing with us as partners in development, and for trusting our capacity for completing Gibe III. Salini Impregilo is honoured to have given service both to them and to this great nation.”

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