Donna Thiessen
(703) 875-4357


SANTIAGO, CHILE (September 12, 2008) – USTDA reaffirmed its commitment to Chile’s development by awarding two grants, totaling $773,000, this week at separate signing ceremonies in Santiago. Under a grant awarded yesterday to the Chilean National Copper Corporation (Codelco), USTDA will fund analysis on a proposed heat recovery and energy efficiency project at the Ventanas smelter. Through a grant awarded today to the Chilean National Airports Directorate (DAP), USTDA will support a study on the expansion and modernization of Balmaceda Airport in the Aisén Region of Chile.

USTDA Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Nathan Younge and Alex Acosta, General Manager of the Codelco Ventana Division, signed the agreement awarding the USTDA grant to Codelco. U.S. Ambassador to Chile Paul E. Simons and DAP Director Yazmin Balboa signed the agreement awarding the USTDA grant to the DAP.

The $422,000 grant to Codelco will be used to evaluate the feasibility of a smelter heat recovery system at Codelco’s Ventanas plant. Codelco is considering the insertion of a heat recovery steam generator (boiler) into its copper refining process. The proposed boiler would reduce the company’s energy demands by capturing enough heat to cool the gases produced during refining to enable them to pass through pollution control equipment. The project could be replicated within the Chilean copper industry and elsewhere in Latin America, lowering Chile’s shortfall in electricity production.

Under the second grant awarded today, valued at $351,000, USTDA will support the DAP, an agency under the Chilean Ministry of Public Works, to expand and modernize Balmaceda Airport. The airport is located in the Aisén region, approximately 900 miles from Santiago. Due to an increased number of international tourists and the distance of Aisén to the country’s main gateway in Santiago, the expansion and modernization of Balmaceda Airport is vital to support tourism and commerce in Aisén.

The grant will fund the development of a Master Plan to expand the existing infrastructure, redesign terminal areas to accommodate increased passenger and cargo demand, and permit the operation of larger aircraft. In addition, the implementation plan will serve as an investment promotion tool to attract private sector participation and include a roadmap for any potential future concessionaire.

The opportunities to provide USTDA-funded assistance to Codelco and the DAP will be competed separately on the Federal Business Opportunities website at Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions in the Federal Business Opportunities announcements. Codelco and the DAP will each select the U.S. firms that will carry out the assistance associated with their respective grants.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair, open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.


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