SANTIAGO Jan 30 A special Chilean ministerial committee said on Thursday additional studies of HidroAysen were needed, likely deferring the final decision on the controversial energy project to incoming President Michelle Bachelet.
The 2,750 megawatt hydropower investment, a political hot potato, has been in limbo for months, much to the frustration of both investors and environmentalists.
Center-left Bachelet has called the project "unviable," suggesting it will bite the dust once she takes office on March 11.
The government of outgoing conservative President Sebastian Pinera didn't say when it would make a decision on the project, suggesting it is unlikely to reach a determination before March.
The joint venture between leading generator Endesa Chile and partner Colbun is one of the most divisive investments in world No.1 copper producer Chile.
Advocates say energy-strapped Chile needs fresh power sources, and stress hydropower is far cleaner than coal.
Opponents have slammed the complex for its plans to flood large swaths of unspoiled land and have charged it would hurt the environment and tourism in the pristine Southern region.