Brazilian contractor Andrade Gutierrez and US-headquartered multinational Bechtel Corporation have postponed the proposed commissioning date of the 160MW Cotaderal project on the Cachapoal river in Chile.

The power development consortium is structured so that the Brazilian company holds a 44.5% share, while Bechtel and Swedish contractor Skanska each own a 27.5% share in the project.

The US$200M hydro power station is expected to supply power to the Chilean copper mine El Teniente, owned by state enterprise Codelco. El Teniente, located about 100km south of Santiago, will consume about 425GWh of Cortaderal’s generation, and the rest will be sold to Sistema Interconectado Central, Chile’s largest electricity distribution network. The contract with El Teniente will last 20 years.

According to the new schedule, construction work on Cortaderal is expected to start by the end of March, and it will begin operating in November 2002. The construction, which was to commence in 1998, was delayed because of problems finding financing due to the prevailing low copper prices.

This is the second time Codelco and the developers have modified their original contract, signed in 1994. The original contract was for the construction of a 180MW US$250M project, to be completed in 2001.

El Teniente also owns two hydro power stations, Pangal (35MW) and Coya (34MW). It plans to sell these plants in December of this year.