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Reference News - International Media Coverage: Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the Nicaragua Canal Approved, HKND Obtains the Environmental Permit of the Project 2015-11-7 14:36

Editor: Liu Lifei

November 7 (Reference News) - Foreign media reported that on November 5, the Government of Nicaragua, through the Interoceanic Grand Canal Commission, issued the approval resolution of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Nicaragua Canal to the company HKND Group from Hong Kong, a project estimated at 50,000 million dollars.

According to the report published on November 5 on El Nuevo Diario of Nicaragua, the Government’s resolution was announced in a ceremony covered by official media. "We are authorizing HKND to start the processes of structural design and construction design," said the President of the Canal Commission, Manuel Coronel Kautz.

Telémaco Talavera, spokesman of the Canal Commission, said that the resolution in favor of the project was extended because HKND was committed to meeting 48 environmental, social and economic requirements, including further studies “with high scientific standards”.

El Nuevo Diario reported that the ESIA, prepared by the British consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and submitted to the Commission on May 31, was analyzed by a group of experts convened by the Government of Nicaragua.

Bill Wild, HKND’s Chief Project Advisor, said after being informed of the approval of the ESIA: "We’re really pleased that the project can now move forward with full speed."

It’s reported that the Project includes building a 276 kilometers long, 230 to 280 meters wide and 30 meters deep canal, which will link the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Project also involves the construction of other infrastructures such as roads, airport, ports, free trade zone and tourist resorts.

In 2013, the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, delivered to the National Assembly two legislative acts concerning the construction and the exclusive concession of the Canal. A framework agreement was later signed between the Government of Nicaragua and HKND Group, according to which HKND Group has the exclusive right to develop and manage the Nicaragua Grand Canal and other potential sub-projects for up to 100 years.

According to another report of El 19 Digital dated November 5, the Interoceanic Grand Canal Commission delivered to HKND the approval resolution of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the mega project.

According to the report, executives of the concessionaire and representatives of the Nicaraguan government were present at the approval ceremony. The President of the Commission, Manuel Coronel said that the studies is an ongoing process that will be carried out whenever there are elements that need to be further studied. In this regard, he highlighted that the ESIA was crucial to start the work. "We are precisely authorizing HKND to start the processes of structural design and construction design," he said.

On the other hand, the spokesman of the Commission, Telémaco Talavera stressed that the final ESIA shows that the final net balance, from an economic, social and environmental point of view, is very positive for Nicaragua. He emphasized that the study has a high technical and scientific standard, as it was conducted by an internationally recognized company and by experts and scientists from all over the world. In light of this and after an in-depth analysis, the national Commission for the canal development has decided to approve this report and deliver it to the company, he said.

Talavera recalled that the following studies remain to be done aim “to determine specific measures” and address environmental issues. “Today is a historical day for Nicaragua and will go down in history, reaffirming the commitment of the Government of Nicaragua, the Canal Commission and HKND that we are working on a project that will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the people of Nicaragua, to this generation and future generations, and even to the whole world,” he said.

According to environmentalists, the Canal would not be initiated until its feasibility is approved. During a period of two years, a series of requirements from different environmental organizations were collected in order to restore the existing environmental damage along the Canal route.

According to the report, Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group, expressed his gratitude for the approval of the ESIA report, as this represents a major step for the construction of the Grand Canal. He added that the report comprises 14 volumes, and is the result of two-year work by hundreds of scientists. This also states that although the project will have negative environmental and social impacts, the implementation of mitigation actions will produce a net positive impact. In this regard, he said that HKND believes the Canal will bring positive environmental, social and economic benefits.

"The study recommends a series of mitigation measures to minimize the potential environmental and social impacts," he said. He indicated that HKND has sought transparency and integrity throughout the process and is committed to restoring forests along the Canal route through one of the largest reforestation programs in the world.

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Original link: http://www.cankaoxiaoxi.com/finance/20151107/989596.shtml