The Chinese-Colombian consortium CYS, composed of the Chinese company Yellow River and the Colombian company Schrader Camargo, will complete the major construction of the Hidroituango dam in the Antioquia department. It is worth noting that both companies were rejected in February 2022 because, it was said at the time, they did not have the necessary experience to obtain the concession.
Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) has ultimately decided to grant the final works at Hidroituango to the CYS consortium through a second public bidding process that was accredited in April 2023. The project, which will complete the long-awaited dam, has a final phase value of 1.075 billion Colombian pesos and is expected to take 1,125 days to complete.
This second phase assigned to the CYS consortium will mark the completion of the mega-project and is expected to begin operations between 2025 and 2027.
Completion of the Mega-Project
According to EPM, 12 companies submitted projects to secure the contract in 2023. Out of these, 3 were studied and evaluated, and ultimately, the Chinese-Colombian consortium won the contract.
The civil works to be carried out are for the planned units 5, 6, 7, and 8, with which the hydroelectric plant is expected to generate 2,400 megawatts, as initially envisioned 12 years ago.
The concession has not been without controversy, due to the modifications that EPM introduced in the tender conditions and the alleged difficulty for the companies in the consortium to demonstrate their experience in a project of this magnitude.
In fact, the proposal from these companies was rejected in the initial attempt in 2022, and the tender was declared void as they were the only ones bidding for the project. Later, in April 2023, EPM opened a new public bid request, which concluded on October 11, with the award to CYS.
Nevertheless, suspicions have not ceased because EPM decided to modify some of the conditions of the bidding process, particularly in the section regarding the accreditation of construction experience.
The mega-project is located on the Cauca River in Ituango, in the Antioquia department. Construction has been surrounded by controversy since it began in 2011.
According to the original plans, the complex was expected to be fully operational five years ago, but various delays and issues, such as a landslide in May 2018, which almost led to the dam’s rupture, have continually postponed the completion of what would be Colombia’s largest power station.