Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment (HKND Group) has launched the pre-construction archaeological work for the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal.
Based on the preliminary archaeological survey undertaken as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), the work marks a major progress in development of the shipping channel across Nicaragua that would act as an alternative to the Panama Canal.
The archaeological work will be carried out by the National University Council of Nicaragua, the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) and the Nicaraguan archaeologist and historian Dr Patrick Werner.
The contract requires HKND to hold responsibility for identification, recording, and salvaging cultural relics discovered on the construction site and handing them over to the Nicaraguan Government.
Additionally, the company will work with the Government to establish museums to preserve and display important cultural heritage material discovered at the site.
HKND Group chief project advisor Bill Wild said: "We are delighted to have a local team of such pre-eminence to undertake this work for us.
"Besides bringing their undoubted qualifications and experience to the Project, it reflects HKND’s commitment to using local resources whenever the expertise is available here and whenever it makes commercial sense to do so."
CNU president Telémaco Talavera said: "Officially, we are initiating the archaeological investigation and field study, bringing along with it an extraordinary academic value to us, and to scientists and academics from all over the world, and at the same time enabling us to rescue the Nicaraguan heritage and generating resources for our country."
Recently, the Government of Nicaragua approved the ESIA for the Nicaragua Canal Project, which was submitted in May this year.
The report covers a wide range of scientific disciplines including geology, soil, groundwater, surface water, air, noise, vibration, marine / freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as social resources, community health, cultural heritage, local economy and employment.
Valued at $50bn, the proposed project aims to expand the Panama Canal in both size and capacity and would be built by the Nicaraguan Government, along with the HKND.
Image: HKND Group with Nicaraguan local experts on the pre-construction archaeological work. Photo: courtesy of HKND Group.