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Mantaro Hydroelectric Complex 

Complex History


In the 1940s, Peruvian entrepeneur Santiago Antunez de Mayolo started researching how to make the best use of water resources in the area of Pongor in the central highlands.

In 1945, after a great deal of research, Antunez de Mayolo presented the study to generate hydro-electric energy on the so-called first bend of the Mantaro River in the province of Tayacaja in Huancavelica.

Several preliminary studies were carried out between 1954 and 1961 by consultants from the United States, Japan and Germany, who confirmed Antunez de Mayolo's proposal was feasible.

So in December 1961 the State set up the Corporacion Electrica del Mantaro (Corman), a state company in charge of developing and exploiting the hydro-electric potential of the Mantaro River.

Tablachaca dam constructionThe corporation started operating in 1963, carrying out a comparative study of proposals from several international firms. As a result, it was decided to start formal negotiations with the GIE Impreglio Group of Italy. Talks lasted from March to June 1966.

Intake tunel constructionThe contract to supply, build and finance the Mantaro Project was signed September 1, 1966, while construction equipment began arriving between January and June 1967, whereupon construction got underway on civil engineering work.

These works had to get off the ground with the tasks that would give engineers a view of how the complex would look in the area. One important aspect of these works involved the construction of new roads that allowed the contractor to truck in the necessary material andequipment.

S. Antúnez de Mayolo Powerhouse constructionAt the same time, the contractor improved existing roads to allow the necessary heavy goods vehicles to pass through the area. Major camps had to be built in Mantacra, Villa Azul and Campo Armi¤o, so as to house the thousands of workers who worked on the project. At one point, these camps housed up to 10,000 workers and their families.

The first stage of the Mantaro Complex involved the construction of a dam at Enca¤ada de Vigapata, from where the contractor drilled a 20 km tunnel to Campo Armi¤o. From there, a pressure pipeline was to channel the water to the site where a machine house would be built to house three generators of 114 Mw each. This stage was inaugurated October 6, 1973.

S. Antunez de Mayolo HPS - I stageIn the second stage of the project, the contractor installed four additional generators and added two pressure pipelines which enabled the power station to reach a total potency of 798 Mw. This stage was
inaugurated May 1, 1979.

Five-and-a-half years later, on November 10, 1984, the project inaugurated the third and final stage of the Mantaro complex, namely the Restitucion hydro-electric plant. This power station uses the water that has already flowed through the turbines at the Santiago Antunez de Mayolo hydro-electric station to generate an additional 210 Mw, giving the entire complex a total power of 1,008 Mw. The water is channeled to the Restitucion hydro-electric plant via a bridge pipeline that links up with the 800 meter-long intake tunnel that runs underneath Campo Armiño.

Tablachaca damMore than 30 years have gone by since work started on the Mantaro Project, and while construction of the main works has yet to finish, Electroperu continues to build works to take advantage of the water supply in the Mantaro watershed, plus other works designed to improve the system so as to guarantee a good service and bring more electric energy and progress.

The work done on the Mantaro project was truly spectacular because of the tough geography and the harsh climate in the area. The project claimed several lives before it was built, and even today, when one visits the installations of the complex, one is overwhelmed by the sight of such a major project.