Contributed by: Don WinnerMercopress.com - A consortium led by Mexican billionaire tycoon Carlos Slim posted the cheapest bid on Wednesday to win the latest small contract to expand the Panama Canal, part of the wider 5.25 billion US dollars project. The consortium beat out competitors from Colombia and the United States, as well as Mexican construction firm ICA, with a bid of 25.5 million for the excavation of 7.5 million cubic meters of earth, the Panama Canal Authority said. The awarding of the contract to the consortium –called Consorcio Cilsa Minera María and registered in Panama and Mexico– depends on its paperwork being in order. There were seven other bidders. The contract is the second, and one of the smallest, of five dredging contracts that the Panama Canal Authority has planned in its effort to double the capacity of the canal by 2014. It is the first contract won by one of Slim's firms, which he also expressed interest in bigger projects yet to be awarded, including the construction of a third set of locks.