An ambitious project to build a canal for container shipsacross Nicaragua has moved closer despite scientists’ concerns that the full assessment of its environmental impacts remain unpublished.
Last month (8 July), the China-based HKND Group — the company chosen to build the canal — announced the approval by a committee of government officials, businessmen and academics of one of the five proposed routes (see map below). It estimates construction cost at US$40 billion and says the canal could be open by 2020.The proposed route for the Nicragua canal is more than three times the length of the Panama canal. Local scientists are worried that it could wreak havoc with Lake Nicaragua’s biodiversity.
The Nicaraguan government granted rights to build the canal to the Chinese group last year. It claims the project will create jobs and tackle poverty. According to government officials the canal would create about 250,000 jobs.