GENEVA (Reuters) - Costa Rica wants information from Nicaragua about the potential environmental impact of a planned $50 billion canal project that would rival the Panama Canal, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera said on Tuesday.

The canal construction plan entails dredging Lake Nicaragua to almost twice its current depth. This could cause sedimentation in San Juan river, whose southern bank is Costa Rican territory.

"This is why we asked Nicaragua to tell us how they were planning to prevent the sedimentation of the San Juan river. We have not received that information," Solis said.

"The only thing we want is information on possible environmental impacts on Costa Rica, and other than that we wish them well," Solis told a news conference in Geneva.

Nicaragua announced the start of work on the project in December, saying the proposed 172-mile (278-km) canal, due to be operational by around 2020, would raise annual economic growth to more than 10 percent.

Construction of the new waterway will be run by Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd (HKND Group), which is controlled by Wang Jing, a Chinese telecom mogul.

"We understand that this is not a canal that is being supported by the government of Beijing," Solis said.

 

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)