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Second Major Expansion Excavation Contract Announced

Date: 03-DEC-2007

CONTRACT AWARDED TO CONSORCIO CILSA MINERA MARÍA

PANAMA CITY, Panama, December 3, 2007 - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) marked another milestone last Tuesday, November 27, as it officially awarded the second major expansion excavation contract to Consorcio Cilsa Minera María.

The process began September 18, when the ACP released its tender (request for proposal) for the second of five dry excavation projects of the new Pacific locks access channel that will connect the new third set of locks on the Pacific end of the Canal with the existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch in the Panama Canal). This project involves the removal of 7.5 million cubic meters in a stretch of approximately 2.4 kilometers, just north of where the new Pacific locks will be built.

On November 14, the ACP received a total of eight bids for the contract. In a public ceremony, the ACP opened each bid submission and recorded the price proposals. After a thorough review of the lowest bidder's proposal, the ACP determined last Tuesday that Consorcio Cilsa Minera María met the requirements and proceeded to award the contract to the firm.

"The momentum is clearly picking up, as reflected in the contracting process for the expansion, which is moving along well," said Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Administration Jorge L. Quijano. "With all the environmental impact studies completed and approved by ANAM, the National Environmental Authority, we are in a position to award all contracts as we complete each tender process. The response from the various consortia for this contract has been impressive, and we're extremely confident in Consorcio Cilsa Minera María's capability to complete the task at hand. We have confirmed that they have the experience, financial backing, the necessary equipment and the know-how to get the job done as programmed."

The scope of work for the second dry excavation project also includes the construction of a new section of road and a new crossing over the Cocoli River, in addition to the removal and/or relocation of electrical utilities, telecommunication lines, water lines, sanitation lines, ducts and sewers. Site work could begin as early as this month after the ACP gives Consorcio Cilsa Minera María the order to proceed. The project is slated for completion during the fourth quarter of the 2009 calendar year.

A joint venture between Panama- and Mexico-based firms, Consorcio Cilsa Minera María, is comprised of two companies - Cilsa and Minera María. Both offer resources and expertise within the engineering, transportation, construction, water and energy sectors.

The chart below shows the companies that submitted bids and their corresponding bid price.

COMPANY

BUDGET

1.   Consorcio Condor Proimpetrol (Colombia)   

$42,455,577.54

2.   Consorcio  Masering Cromas  (Colombia)

$30,564,475.00

3.   Consorcio Conalvías Retraneq (Panama-Colombia)

$37,492,853.18

4.   Consorcio M&S MECO Santa Fe (Panama-Costa Rica)

$40,986,400.04

5.   International Underground Corp. (United States)      

$61,745,339.00

6.   Consorcio Cilsa Minera María (Panama-Mexico)

$25,489,200.30

7.   Consorcio ICA Panamá - ICA CV (Panama-Mexico)

$45,822,242.77

8.   Constructora Urbana S.A. (Panama)           

$30,913.000.00

(Note: All prices are listed in U.S. dollars and bids are listed in the order received.)

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The ACP is the autonomous agency of the government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP's Web site: http://www.pancanal.com/. For Panama Canal video, please visit http://www.thenewsmarket.com/panamacanal.

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This material is distributed by DJE, Inc. on behalf of the Panama Canal Authority. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.


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