Chinese consortium enters sole bid for $1bn Argentine hydro scheme

A consortium led by two Chinese contractors has put in the sole bid for a $1bn dam in Argentina.

The Portezuelo del Viento scheme is planned for Argentina’s Mendoza province, which is in the west of the country abutting the Andes.

If the government of Mendoza accepts the bid, the 210MW dam will be built by the China Gezhouba Group and hydropower specialist Sinohydro. Other members of the UTE Malal Hue consortium are Mendoza-based contractors Ceosa and Oasa, as well as Argentine energy contractor Impsa.

Despite the fact that the UTE bid was the only one received, the authorities are still pressing ahead with the next stage of the tender, and the consortium will have to present its technical proposals by 11 August and its economic proposal by 16 November.

The $1bn cost of the project will be covered by the Argentine state under a deal struck between the federal government and the province, although the Mendoza authorities have expressed some nervousness over whether it will really receive the money.

Victor Ibáñez, minister for governance, said he trusted that Buenos Aires would make the promised payments. He said: "Deposits have been made regularly, within the framework of the Nation-Province agreement, which is independent of the dam project, and comes from that old judgment that the province beats the nation – so we hope that payments continue as before."

If UTE is chosen to build the dam, work is expected to begin in the middle of next year and take five years to build. As well as the dam, the project requires the re-routing of two roads, one of them the National Route 145, and the relocation of the small town of Las Loicas.

Image: The dam will have a 185m-high barrage on the Colorado river (Karvasonni/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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  1. How can their only be one bid

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