Brazil’s national development bank (BNDES) has announced that it is prepared to provide direct and indirect support up to three-quarters of the cost of the 3300MW Jirau hydropower project to be build on the river Madeira.

The auction of the Jirau project has been put back a week to 19 May.

BNDES added that shareholders’ equity in the 30-year concession to build and operate the project would be at least 20% but excluded, for calculation purposes at this stage, possible involvement of the development bank. BNDES added that its participation may be limited to 10%-20% of the capital stock of the concessionaire company formed to execute the project.

The bank added that its contribution may come through either of, or both, corporate financing to JV companies making up the concessionaire and project finance. The funding term could be 25 years with up to six months grace following the start-up of each set of turbines.

The first three turbines are to be commissioned in January 2013. In total, the project will have 44 generating units.

Jirau is the slighter larger of the two projects that form the 6450 MW Madeira scheme. The other project is the 3150 MW Santo Antonio project, which was auctioned last year. Its first units are to be commissioned by the end of 2012.