Chile's AES Gener gets $1.2 bln loan for Alto Maipo power project


SANTIAGO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Chilean energy company AESGener SA said on Wednesday it had obtained a loan forup to $1.217 billion in a major step in financing its Alto Maipohydropower project near Santiago.

The $2.05 billion project is 60 percent owned by AES Gener,while the rest is held by Chilean miner Antofagasta Minerals.

The complex, which has faced some opposition from local andenvironmental groups, will be developed about 50 kilometers (31miles) east of capital city Santiago and have 531 megawatts ofinstalled capacity once its two generating units are complete.

The project has already received an environmental permit.

"The signing of this financing agreement constitutes a majormilestone for the project's development, as it will allow forthe startup of its main works," said AES Gener Chief ExecutiveOfficer Luis Felipe Ceron.

A nebulous regulatory framework has left several major powergeneration projects in limbo, and there is strong publicopposition to large coal-fired plants and hydropower complexes.

That has put billions of dollars of mining investment atrisk in the world's top copper producer.

The 20-year project financing deal was offered by asyndicate of banks including Overseas Private Investment Corp,the Inter-American Development Bank, the International FinanceCorp, CorpBanca, Banco de Credito e Inversiones, Banco Itau Chile, Banco del Estado de Chile, KfWIpex-Bank GmbH and DNB Bank ASA.

Joint venture partners AES Gener and Antofagasta said theywould use their own capital to help pay for the portion of theproject's development not covered by loan financing.

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