China-backed Argentina power projects to benefit metallurgical industry

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Construction in Argentina of the 1,740MW Kirchner-Cepernic dam and 800MW Atucha III nuclear plant will present significant opportunities for the local metallurgical industry, according to national planning minister Julio De Vido.

In an address to industry association Adimra, De Vido announced plans to create joint work committees between the assocation and the government to monitor the progress of the projects, which China has pledged to finance.

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The announcement follows the signing by Argentine president Cristina Fernández and Chinese officials of an agreement to begin works on the US$4bn Kirchner-Cepernic project.

Also, China National Nuclear Company (CNNC) last week signed an agreement to provide financing, equipment, goods and services for the US$2bn Atucha III plant.

The planning ministry (Minplan) has said that Atucha III will be built with 70% locally-sourced components. Adimra head Juan Lascurain said that in 2003 there were no companies in the local industry qualified to work in the nuclear sector. Now, he added, there are more than 100.

The Atucha III committee will comprise Adimra, state nuclear energy company Nucleoeléctrica Argentina and national atomic energy commission CNEA.

The Kirchner-Cepernic committee will comprise Admira and Minplan's secretariat of public works.

Wind, transmission projects

China also agreed to finance the US$435mn, 200MW El Angelito wind farm in Argentina's Chubut province and a US$530mn, 500kV transmission line connecting provinces Buenos Aires and Mendoza, according to statements from the Chubut and La Pampa provincial governments, respectively.

The wind farm agreement stipulates that components be built by Argentine companies.