Chinese firm to start Nicaragua canal project by late 2016

Updated: 2015-11-06 14:29

By Lyu Chang(

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China's infrastructure development firm HKND Group said on Thursday that its $50-billion inter-ocean Nicaragua canal project will begin by the end of next year, after receiving an environmental permit from local government.

"This is a milestone for the development of the project, and we are pleased that the project can now move forward with full speed and with the support from many sectors of the country," said Bill Wild, the chief project adviser of the Chinese company.

The environmental and social impact assessment for the project, carried out by a British consultancy ERM with two years' efforts, said the project does have impacts, both environmentally and socially, but the positive benefits of the project will exceed the negative ones.

The Hong Kong-based company said it will first start the preliminary work for Brito Port in the southwestern coastal city of Brito at the end of this year.

The route of the canal extends from the southeastern coastal city of Brito to the mouth of Punta Gorda river in the Caribbean, passing through more than 105 kilometers of Lake Nicaragua.

Pang Kwok Wai, executive vice-president of HKND Group, said the total cost of the project is likely to be lower than the projected $50 billion due to the fact that the crude price fell to about $30 to 40 a barrel this year.

"When we were doing the assessment for the cost of the project last year, the oil price was $70 to 80 above, but as crude price kept falling down, it will drive down our cost as well," he said.

"If you look at how much fuel we use, you will know that this is the best time for such an investment."

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