Chile ends 2022 with US$5.5bn in infra projects under environmental review

Bnamericas Published: Friday, December 30, 2022
Chile ends 2022 with US$5.5bn in infra projects under environmental review

Chile’s environmental evaluation service SEA is ending 2022 with 16 infrastructure projects under assessment involving US$5.5bn in investments, with some having already spent more than four years at this stage.

The largest projects being currently reviewed by SEA are: 

Expansion of San Antonio port (US$3.5bn)

After being admitted for evaluation in May 2020, the review has already been suspended twice and the project faces opposition from residents and some authorities due to its potential impact on local wetlands. 

The project (pictured) entails the construction of two 98.2ha terminals, two 730m docks and the installation of a 4km breakwater. Once completed, the port is expected to handle 6mn TEUs per year.

State-owned operator EPSA submitted an amended environmental impact study (EIS) in late August, which estimated that construction could begin in the first half of 2025. 

Improvement of Andina highway (US$71mn) 

The EIS for the Andina highway in northern Chile was submitted by the public works ministry (MOP) in October 2018. The assessment has been suspended twice, with the second one expected to be concluded in March 2023.

The project involves upgrading a 128km stretch of the A-235 and A-95 roads in the Arica y Parinacota region, between the intersection with the 11-CH road and the border with the Tarapacá region.

The original EIS estimated that construction would begin in November 2020, but the amended version did not specify when works could start.     

Copiaport-E (US$450mn)

Copiaport-e Operaciones Maritimas submitted an EIS in September 2020, after the SEA rejected a previous proposal in 2019 due to a “significant lack of information.”

Since the study was presented, the assessment has been suspended twice, with the latest underway. 

The initiative entails building a port complex in Caldera (Atacama region), which will include a bulk goods terminal with capacity to handle 10Mt/y, and a multipurpose terminal with container handling capacity of 300,000 TEUs per annum, 150,000t/y of general cargo, and 150,000t/y of fertilizers. 

An amended EIS submitted in June states that works are expected to begin in March 2023.

G-21 highway concession (US$87mn)

Sociedad Concesionaria Ruta G-21, a consortium comprising local firms Conpax and Icafal, presented an EIS in October 2020, and has so far amended it twice. 

The project involves improving the 30km road linking Santiago’s Las Condes district and the town of Farellones, which is the main hub for the ski resorts in the mountains close to the capital.

The concession also includes the rehabilitation of a 1.1km section that links the road to the Los Bronces copper mine.

The latest amendment, presented in August, estimated that construction could start in the first half of 2023.

Costanera Norte highway extension to route 78 (US$259mn)

The EIS was submitted by Grupo Costanera subsidiary Sociedad Concesionaria Conexión Vial Ruta 78-68 in February, but the assessment process is suspended until January 30. 

It involves building a 9.2km expressway linking routes 68 and 78 in Santiago’s Maipú and Pudahuel districts. 

So far, the EIS has not been amended and the original proposal estimated that works would be kicked off in early 2023. 

Valparaíso metro, Quillota-La Calera extension (US$680mn)

The EIS was submitted by state-owned rail firm EFE in April. Assessment is currently suspended until December 15, 2023.  

This project entails adding 26km and five stations to Valparaíso’s metro system (Merval), which would take the service to La Calera and Quillota municipalities.

Construction works are expected to start in 2025.

Modernization of Andrés Sabella airport (US$104mn)

The MOP submitted the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) in June. Assessment is currently suspended until May 31. 

It entails remodeling and adding 21,230m2 to the passenger terminal of the main airport in the Antofagasta region, bringing it to a total of 31,422m2.

Other works include increasing the size of the apron, a new control tower and new administrative facilities. 

The EIA states that works are expected to begin in early 2027.

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