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LatinNews Regional Monitor: Brazil & Southern Cone - 20 March 2019

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In brief: Uruguay

* Uruguay’s housing, planning & environment ministry (MVOTMA) has announced that the plans to build a new railway line linking the city of Paso de los Toros in the central Tacuarembó department, to the capital, Montevideo, have been approved by the national environment ministry (Dinama). Obtaining Dinama’s approval was key for the development of the so-called ‘ferrocarril central’ project, which the Uruguayan government has pledged to deliver as part of the agreement it has reached with Finnish firm UPM for it to build a new US$2.3bn pulp mill in central Uruguay, billed as the largest foreign investment project in Uruguay’s history. MVOTMA deputy minister Jorge Rucks said that after carefully analysing the railway project’s environmental impact assessment report, Dinama has concluded that any environmental impacts that it will produce can be “mitigated, compensated for, and prevented”. With the ferrocarril central plans now approved, the Uruguayan government will now be hoping for UPM to confirm that it is committed to building the new pulp mill.