Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dam breaks ground amid concerns

Dam breaks ground amid concerns

Dam breaks ground amid concerns

CHINA Huadian Hong Kong Limited, a Chinese state-run firm, broke ground Thursday on the Stung Russey Chrum Krom hydropower dam, amid conservationists’ concerns about the possible environmental impacts of the project.

The 338-megawatt dam, the second hydroelectric dam in Koh Kong province to enter the construction phase, is slated for completion by 2014 and will cost about US$496 million. Work on the 246MW Tatay Dam began last week.

Speaking Thursday at a groundbreaking ceremony in Phnom Penh, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem said that Cambodia’s high electricity costs will drop once the hydropower plant is completed.

“We strongly believe this hydropower project will ensure the security of electricity in Cambodia, create more jobs and improve livelihoods,” he said.

With the addition of the two hydropower dams in Koh Kong province, Suy Sem also said the government expects a total taxation input of $12.5 million per year from Cambodia’s hydropower sector.

“This hydropower dam will help us to distribute electricity to people in the rural areas,” said Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, who added that the government hopes to provide access to electricity for 70 percent of the population by 2030.

However, Tonn Kunthel, programme manager of the Hydropower Project and Community Rights Project at the NGO Forum, said the company should take the environmental and social impacts of the project into account.

“We cannot stop this development project, but we ask the government and the company to prevent the destruction of protected forests and wildlife in this area, as well as to pay a decent compensation to the residents who face eviction,” he said.

According to an environmental impact assessment conducted by China Huadian, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, the construction of the dam will require the flooding of a 1,270-hectare area of protected forest and destroy the habitats of 184 species of animals, birds, fish and reptiles.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to