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Energia Austral expects approval of Cuervo hydro project in 2011

Energia Austral, a subsidiary of multinational resources group Xstrata, expects Chilean environmental authorities to approve its 640-MW Cuervo hydropower project in 2011, a company spokesperson told wire services.

The firm responded to questions fielded by authorities in response to the initial EIS submitted in August. Environmental authority Conama will send the responses to the corresponding government agencies for evaluation, reports indicate.

The US$2.5 billion project involves construction of plants Cuervo, Rio Blanco and Lago Condor in southern region X with combined capacity of 1,100 MW. Operations could begin by 2015.

"Right now we are only working on Cuervo," added the spokesperson. "And we expect at the start of next year to begin the environmental permitting on the other two projects."

A transmission line is also planned to connect the plants to the central SIC grid.

In other news, Ingenieria y Construccion Madrid has submitted an environmental impact assessment for a 5.5-MW run-of- river hydro project on the Trueno River in Chile's southern region IX to national environmental authority.

Construction is slated to start in 2012, and operations would begin 2014, according to wire reports.

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