Argentine govt to finance US$1.6bn dam project

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Argentina's national government will provide US$964mn in financing for the construction of a US$1.57bn hydroelectric complex in Mendoza province.

The 464MW Los Blancos project will be built by Argentine firm José Cartellone and Brazilian company OAS, according to a release from the Argentine government. Los Blancos will comprise two multi-use dams on the Tunuyán river.

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In a ceremony at the project site, Argentine President Cristina Fernández and economy minister Axel Kicillof signed the financing agreement and the construction contract for Los Blancos.

Located 155km from capital Buenos Aires, the project will inject 900GWh/y on average into the SADI national interconnected system, state news service Télam reported.

The announcement follows a meeting this week between Argentine planning minister Julio De Vido in Moscow with the VP of Russian development bank Vnesheconombank and representatives of the company Inter Rao Export to discuss financing terms for the 637MW Chihuido I dam project.

Inter Rao forms part of the consortium that will build the US$2bn Chihuido I project in Argentina's Neuquén province. Construction is scheduled to begin in September.

Vnesheconombank has committed to financing 87% of the project's cost.

In addition to Los Blancos and Chihuido I, Argentina is also planning the 1,740MW Kirchner-Cepernic dam project in Santa Cruz Province. China is expected to provide US$500mn in financing for the US$4bn project.

Kirchner-Cepernic, Chihuido I and Los Blancos are the three largest hydropower projects currently under development in Argentina, according to the Los Blancos release.