Argentina's first coal plant nears completion

WORK on a 240-megawatt power plant in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina is more than 90% complete.

Sadie Davidson

When completed the plant will be Argentina’s first 100% coal-fired power plant.

The $US350 million ($A374 million) project was initially slated to come online in 2011 but delays saw the plans put back until late 2014.

State-owned YCRT expects to have set aside enough coal from its Rio Turbio mine by the end of 2014 to run the plant for the following two years.

YCRT's output is expected to reach 4.5 million tonnes per year by the end of 2015.

Recent claims in the Argentinian media that the plant’s coal supply is not guaranteed have been vigorously denied by Argentinian Mining Minister Jorge Mayoral.

Construction is also underway on an interconnection line, stretching the 149km between the towns of Rio Turbio and Esperanza.

A substation in Rio Turbio is also under construction, with both projects expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

The interconnection project will allow for the 240MW thermal project to put power into the grid.