Chinese company builds Brazil’s new Antarctic base

17 January 2020

The vice-president of Brazil, Hamilton Mourão, on Wednesday inaugurated the new Brazilian scientific research base in Antarctica, built on the site of the one destroyed by a fire in 2012 due to a fuel spillage, reported the Brazilian press.

The inauguration of the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, located on George Island in the South Shetland archipelago, which occurred a day later than planned due to bad weather, cost the Brazilian federal government approximately US$100 million, according to the Agência Brasil news agency.

Rebuilt by the China National Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), with headquarters in Beijing, a state company with defence contracts, the new base occupies an area of 4,500 m2 and has 17 laboratories, accommodation for 64 people and a technical area for the production of energy and waste treatment.

In addition to boosting safety measures to prevent the spread of fires, the base was designed to withstand winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, and the thick layers of snow that build up during the winter.

In 1975 Brazil signed up to the Antarctica Treaty, initially signed in Washington in 1959 and valid until 2041, and has carried out scientific activities in the region since 1982, a requirement for signatory member countries.

Brazil’s Antarctic programme began in 1982, when the Brazilian Navy purchased a Danish ice breaker and carried out its first expedition to the frozen continent.

Antarctica is a continent with a surface area of 14 million square kilometres and is almost completely covered by huge glaciers, except for some very steep areas on its mountain chains and the north end of the Antarctic peninsula. (macauhub)