Canada miner studies 740-MW Rio Cuervo in Chile

Canadian miner Falconbridge says it is evaluating a project to build a US$600 million hydroelectric plant in southern Chile. The 740-MW Rio Cuervo plant in Aysen Region would be part of Falconbridge’s Energia Austral project.

Falconbridge said March 31 the project would be on lands owned by the company in the Rio Cuervo area, which have no use for cattle breeding or tourism but have “great hydroelectric potential.”

Falconbridge merged in mid-2005 with Noranda, which originally planned to build three hydro plants in Aysen — Rio Cuervo, 54-MW Lago Condor, and 360-MW Rio Blanco — to supply its US$3 billion Alumysa aluminum plant project. But development was halted after the government, under pressure from salmon farmers and environmental groups, decided not to allow the aluminum plant to be built there.

Falconbridge owns all critical assets for the aluminum project, including the hydro sites, water rights, and associated land.

Energy-poor Chile is searching for ways to supply growing demand amid threats of interruptions. The mining industry, which produces Chile’s No. 1 export copper, is the nation’s top energy consumer.

For information, contact Falconbridge Chile Limitada, Av. Andres Bello 2777, Piso 8, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile; (562) 337-0600; Fax: (562) 334-7232; E-mail:; Internet:

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