Another dam project approved for Patagonia: official

May 8, 2012
People protest in front of La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago against a project to build several hydroelectric power stations in the Chilean Patagonia, in 2011. An environmental review commission Tuesday approved construction of another hydroelectric project in Chile's remote and pristine Patagonia region, an officials said.

An environmental review commission Tuesday approved construction of another hydroelectric project in Chile's remote and pristine Patagonia region, an officials said.

The Rio Cuervo project, developed by a joint venture of Australia's Origin Energy and Xstrata Copper, is part of a larger plan to build three dams with a total capacity of 1000-MW in the area around Aysen.

The scheme has drawn protests from environmental groups, who believe it will wreak havoc in the region's unspoiled wilderness.

But Governor Pilar Cuevas said the company had come up with satisfactory responses to "all significant impacts that have been identified."

"So the Environmental Evaluation Commission unanimously approved the Rio Cuervo hydroelectric complex," she said.

Hydroaysen, which wants to build another five in the Aysen region, is already in the final stages of the approval process.

That $3.2 billion project, a joint venture of Colbun and , would generate 2,750 of electricity, but the dams would flood 14,600 acres (5,900 hectares) of pristine land.

The Chilean Supreme Court has given the green light for that project to go ahead.

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