The Nicaraguan Canal (Spanish: Canal de Nicaragua), formally the Nicaraguan Canal and Development Project (also referred to as the Nicaragua Grand Canal, or the Grand Interoceanic Canal) was a proposed shipping route through Nicaragua to connect the Caribbean Sea (and therefore the Atlantic Ocean) with the Pacific Ocean. Scientists were concerned about the project's environmental impact, as Lake Nicaragua is Central America's key freshwater reservoir while the project's viability was questioned by shipping experts and engineers. Construction of a canal using the San Juan River as an access route to Lake Nicaragua was first proposed in the early colonial era. The United States abandoned plans to construct a waterway in Nicaragua in the early 20th century after it purchased the French interests in the Panama Canal. In June 2013, Nicaragua's National Assembly approved a bill to grant a 50-year concession to finance and manage the project to the private HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment (HKND) headed by Wang Jing, a Chinese billionaire. The concession could have been extended for another 50 years once the waterway was operational. In 2015, media reports suggested the project would be delayed and possibly cancelled because Wang's personal wealth declined greatly as a result of the 2015–16 Chinese stock market crash. "Major works" such as dredging were to take place after the finishing of a Pacific Ocean wharf, whose construction was planned to start in late 2016. The Nicaraguan government failed to present reliable information about whether or not the project can be financed, thus casting doubt over whether it would be completed. The HKND Group stated that financing would come from debt and equity sales and a potential initial public offering (IPO). By May 2017, no concrete action had been reportedly taken constructing the canal and further doubts were expressed about its financing. In February 2018, analysts widely viewed the project as defunct, though the head of the project insisted work was on-going and HKND retained the legal rights to the concession for the canal as well as side projects. Despite HKND vanishing, the Nicaraguan government indicates that it will go ahead with the 908 km2 dry land expropriations anywhere within Nicaragua, under land expropriation Canal Law 840.
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