Successful Advance Report of the Engineering and Environmental and Social Impact Studies
On November 20, 2014, HKND Group, together with the Nicaraguan Canal and Development Project Commission (the Commission), presented the Technical Engineering and Environmental and Social Impact Studies of the Project in the auditorium of the Secretariat of the Presidency (SEPRES).
During the morning session, KW Pang, Deputy General Manager of Construction Management Department, presented the Nicaragua Canal feasibility study updates. Later, Tim Cooper, Senior Mining Consultant at MEC Mining of Australia explained the strategy of soil movements of the Project. Rik Thomas, CEO of the Belgian company SBE showed the design of the canal and the locks, and Koen Thomas, Project Manager from SBE introduced the fresh water availability and impact on Lake Nicaragua levels and the study of salt intrusion.
In the afternoon session, the results of environmental and social baseline studies and the progress of the Environmental Impact Study were presented by Alberto Vega and David Blaha, partners of Environmental Resource Management (ERM), and Norvin Torres, Director of Fundación Amigos del Río San Juan (FUNDAR), an organization that collaborates with ERM. Then Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group, presented the Project overview and next steps. Finally, the Commission, HKND Group and ERM answered questions raised by the enthusiastic audience.
Mr. Manuel Coronel, President of the Commission; Dr. Paul Oquist, Executive Secretary of the Commission, and Mr. Zhu Xiaoya, Assistant to CEO of HKND Group also gave their speeches.
Mr. Zhu said in his speech that HKND Group is committed to developing the Canal Project following the principles of legality, transparency and fairness. Based on the professional results from leading companies in the world, HKND Group will continue to comply with international standards in the construction and operation of the Project. Recently, there were some voices that raised doubts and even showed their opposition to the Project. For that, we express our understanding and respect. But we believe that the disclosure of more information related to the Project will allow people to feel more confident. HKND Group will strictly follow the construction plan for the Canal and carry out the work soundly. Not only the impact on the community and the environment will be controlled to a minimum, but also the valuable natural resources of Nicaragua will be better protected by the Canal Project. Let’s build the Grand Canal of Nicaragua into a monument of welfare for all Nicaraguans and a valuable waterway connecting the two oceans from west to the east!
Mr. Telémaco Talavera, spokesperson of the Commission, gave passionate closing remarks in which he fully recognized the efforts made by HKND Group during this period, considering them as the cornerstone for the development of the Canal Project.
More than 300 representatives from the most sectors of the country attended the event, such as diplomats, international organizations, religious leaders, national trade union centers and worker’s confederations, business chambers, scientists and academics, university principals, municipalities along the Canal route, Autonomous Regional Council of the Southern Caribbean (CRACS), Rama-Kriol Territorial Government (GTR-K), environmental groups, and national and international media, among others. Also presented were representatives of other famous companies, including China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), Dredging International and Jan De Nul from Belgium, Boskalis from the Netherlands.
This is the first time for HKND Group to make a formal announcement on the progress of the studies of the Project since July 7 when the selected route was announced. During the meeting, the public was provided with more realistic and comprehensive information, which will further boost confidence in the Project. Meanwhile, people from all walks of life responded with great enthusiasm and appreciation.