K OMPONG SPEU - Security and landmines are the biggest problems faced as
international donors prepare to complete the 27-year-old Kirirom hydro-power
Sweden and Austria, funding the project, have asked the
Cambodian government to guarantee the safety of their personnel working on the
Some of the area around the huge power station area is
believed to be mined, according to Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Pou
"The security problem is the main problem which could hinder
the work process," he said.
The Cambodian Mine Action Center had been
asked to clear mines from the area, while some 5000 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
(RCAF) soldiers would be on hand to protect construction workers.
Division 5 commander Seng Sareu said 1000 soldiers had been withdrawn from
Kampot province to join 4000 around stationed around
Construction of the hydro power station, which will use water
from Kirirom lake, was begun in 1968 with funding from Yugoslavia.
never finished because of war. The Swedish and Austrian governments last month
signed an agreement to complete the station.
Austria donated $11m for
restoring the water entrance systems, pipe system and power generator, and
Sweden $16m for a network of electricity wires connecting it to Phnom
The project, to be supervised by Swedish and Austrian technicians,
is due to start in October and end late next year.
When completed, the
station will supply 11 megawatts of power to Phnom Penh and 500 kilowatts to
The station is sited at the foot of the Kirirom mountain
range, and will be fed by water piped 10km from Kirirom lake near the top of the
mountain. The lake acts as a reservoir of water which flows down the mountain's
valleys in the rainy season.
Adjacent to the lake is the recently
inaugurated Royal Kirirom National Park.