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Nicaragua: China will begin to build a canal worth 50 billion dollars in December

The Government of Nicaragua and HKND of China announced that they would begin the construction of a canal in the Pacific sector on December 22.

"We'll begin the first works in preparation for the construction of the canal on December 22, such as the access roads and transporting heavy machinery", said Paul Oquist, Secretary of the Presidency.

Oquist and representatives of the firm HKND GROUP made the announcement during the presentation of the feasibility studies of this project, considered the culmination of a long time dream.

The environmental impact studies, which have brought concern among the environmental community in the country, will be ready in December before the construction begins, said Oquist.

HKND has paid for these studies, which are estimated at 900 million dollars. "Nicaragua has not put a shilling in," he added.

The chairman of the Committee for the Development of the Canal, Manuel Coronel, said this work was unprecedented and that some might think that engaging in it was like going to the moon for an impoverished country like Nicaragua.

The canal won't be done all at once, "we will follow a building plan and control the social and environmental impact down to the last dot," said the construction deputy general of HKND, Kwok Wai Pang.

The Grand Canal of Nicaragua will have a much greater capacity than the Panama Canal.

According to HKND, the waterway, including infrastructure works, such as two parallel ports, an airport, a resort, a free zone and steel and electricity companies, will have an estimated cost of 50 billion dollars.

The design, alignment, and canal locks were modified taking into account environmental, social aspects and natural disasters affecting this Central American country, according to the study presented by Kwok.

The representative of HKND said the canal wouldn't affect important mangrove biosphere reserves, fishing activity or use of water in the Lake Nicaragua, the main water reservoir in Central America.

The Canal's length went from 278 miles to 272 miles and it won't touch the Mesoamerican Corridor or the protected reserves, such as Indio Maiz and Cerro Silva, nor will it affect the territories of ethnic tribes in the Caribbean, said Kwok.

The representative of the Chinese company said the project included modifications to make the locks resistant to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Kwok said the project included the building of a 600-meter long bridge on the Pan American Highway, which will be cut by the canal, among other things.

Source: AFP

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