AFP: Nicaragua Gives the Go-ahead for the Studies to Build a Canal
Managua. AFP. Nicaragua approved the studies for the construction of the Canal, which will connect the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean, submitted by the concessionaire in charge of the project, HKND from Hong Kong, China, official sources reported.
"Considering the high scientific and technical rigor of this study", the Grand Canal Commission decided to approve these studies, said on Thursday the spokesman for the organization, Telémaco Talavera.
The resolution of the Commission, the highest authority of the megaproject, was handed over to representatives of the company HKND at a public event.
"We are precisely authorizing HKND to start the structural design and construction design" for the waterway, said the president of the commission, Manuel Coronel, during the ceremony.
The environmental and social impact assessment was elaborated by the British consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for HKND and released by the Government in September after three months of analysis.
The study mentions that the Canal Project "will have significant environmental and social impacts," but also that these impacts can be mitigated if the project is developed properly.
Talavera said that the requirements established for the construction of the waterway are being met and that "the final net balance, from an economic, social and environmental point of view, is highly positive for Nicaragua."
Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of the company, emphasized that the government's decision is "a major step" for the construction of the Project, and predicted rapid progress.
In 2013, HKND was granted the concession by the Government of Nicaragua to build and manage the Canal and six ancillary works, with an estimated cost of $ 50 billion and for a term of 50 years, which may be extended for an equal period.
The construction of the Canal, with a length of 276 km between both coasts, will take five years to be accomplished, according to the plans of the concessionaire company.