Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Areng dam a boon: ministry

Areng dam a boon: ministry

Locals watch as Chinese engineers prepare to undertake a feasibility study for the Stung Cheay Areng dam in November 2012
Locals watch as Chinese engineers prepare to undertake a feasibility study for the Stung Cheay Areng dam in November 2012. INTERNATIONAL RIVERS

Areng dam a boon: ministry

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has denied that the proposed Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam in Koh Kong province will have as wide-ranging environmental and social impacts as predicted by activists, saying that the forests will be replaced by ecotourism resorts.

Speaking to reporters yesterday in Phnom Penh, ministry secretary of state Ith Praing said the reservoir would cover only 10,000 hectares and that the dam was slated for completion by 2020 at a cost of $400 million.

“In reality, the project is under study. The claims that forest is being logged are exaggerated. We do not log the forest. We are aiming at hydropower production,” he said. “If we log the forest, where can we get water resources? I pity people who are lied to. They are seeking funding and support for their organisations. If they did not do so, how would they get the money?”

Praing’s comments followed local media reports earlier this week that the Chinese state-owned firm contracted to oversee the dam’s construction, Sinohydro Resources, a subsidiary of Powerchina, had already signed an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with a subcontractor, Cambodia Lancangjiang Engineering.

The news prompted activists to suggest that the green light may have already been given for construction of the highly controversial project, but Praing claimed yesterday that their fears were overblown.

“They always say what we do causes people to shed tears, which is an exaggeration,” he said. “Will they cry when the project is completed? It will transform the area into ecotourism resorts.

“If they say it will affect 20,000 hectares [of forest], we do not know where they get that figure from,” he added.

At least 1,318 people will be forced to relocate under the project, Praing said.

Earlier this year, the Post reported that Sinohydro had taken over the project to construct the Areng dam with the help of Cambodian People’s Party senator Lao Meng Khin, and later, that clearances had been given for it to prospect for possible mining projects in the area.

Major international conservation groups have opposed the project, along with community activists, who have repeatedly blocked the access road into the site since March.

MOST VIEWED

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police