A consortium of Colombian and Brazilian companies were on Tuesday awarded the contract to build Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam in the northern Colombian Antioquia department reported Latino Fox News.
Brazil’s Carmago Correa S.A. (55%) and Colombian firms Constructora Conconcreto S.A. (35%) and Coninsa Ramon H S.A. (10%) have won the contract to build the Ituango Hydroelectric Project which has been the subject of local protest and ongoing attacks by the FARC guerrilla group.
The contract announcement came a week after thousands of locals protested their lack of compensation for income lost due to the construction of the $5.5 billion dam.
Reports said that up to 7,000 displaced people were forced into the protest by the FARC which has been repeatedly attacking the equipment and construction, supposedly because the project opens the area which has traditionally been important for coca growth and illegal mining around the river.
The demonstrators however, denied being forced into the protest and said the police were trying to veto their legitimacy by linking them to the FARC.
The 720ft rock-filled embankment dam will have a reservoir capacity of 565 million cubic feet and should be operational by 2018.
Firms from South Korea, China, Italy, Spain, Colombia and Brazil participated in the bidding to build the mega-project which will flood a total area of 38 square meters at the mouth of the Ituango river. The finished dam 170 km north of Colombia’s second city Medellin is expected to provide up to 18% of Colombia’s electricity.