The tunnel boring machine (TBM) for Ecuador's 1.5GW Coca Codo Sinclair hydro project is due on site in March next year, the power and renewable energy ministry said in a statement.
The news followed a visit by minister Esteban Albornoz to German company Herrenknecht's factory where the 1,986t TBM is under construction.
The 172m-long, 9.1m-wide TBM is in the final assembly stage in the lead-up to testing, added the ministry.
Special purpose company Coca Codo Sinclair is behind the project in Napo province that will use water from the confluence of the Quijos and Salado rivers. Components include a machine house for eight 187MW turbines; a 24.8km, 8.7m-wide concrete-lined water transport tunnel; and a 53m-high compensation reservoir.
Chinese company Sinohydro holds the project's EPC contract and China's Ex-Im Bank will finance US$1.68bn of the hydro's US$1.98bn price tag. Authorities have penciled in startup for 2013.