Brazil miner sells stake in 855-MW Foz do Chapeco

Brazilian miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) sold its 40 percent stake in the 855-MW Foz do Chapeco hydroelectric project to federal utility Furnas Centrais Eletricas on February 10.

Construction of the 1.8 billion reais (US$846 million) project is due to start by April on the Uruguai River at the border between Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states.

CVRD will receive about 10 million reais (US$4.7 million) for feasibility studies. Furnas is part of Brazil’s federal power holding Eletrobras, which accounts for about 60 percent of all power generation in the country.

Other owners of Foz do Chapeco are CPFL Energia, with 40 percent, and Rio Grande do Sul State utility Companhia Estadual de Energia Eletrica, with 20 percent.

In a statement, CVRD said it had stakes in nine hydroelectric power stations, of which five — 210-MW Igarapava, 112-MW Porto Estrela, 180-MW Funil, 140-MW Risoleta Neves (Candonga), and 330-MW Aimores — are operating and last year produced 1,300 GWh. CVRD plans to invest US$135 million in electric power projects in 2006, against US$125 million last year.

Furnas in talks to buy share of 82-MW Retiro Baixo

Brazilian daily Valor Economico reported Furnas also is in talks to buy 49 percent of the 82-MW Retiro Baixo hydro project from Brazilian engineering firm Orteng Engenharia. The report, carried by Business News Americas, said Furnas would invest 200 million reais (US$94 million) to build the project on the Paraopeba River in Minas Gerais State.

Orteng won a development concession for Retiro Baixo in a concession auction in December.

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