Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Xayaburi a go, says Lao minister

Xayaburi a go, says Lao minister

Xayaburi a go, says Lao minister

Laos will build the controversial Xayaburi hydro-electric dam on the Mekong river – and has already agreed to sell some of its electricity to Cambodia, its energy minister claimed yesterday.

In Phnom Penh for the 30th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting yesterday, Soulivong Daravong, Laos’s Energy and Minister, said the contentious 1,285 megawatt dam in the country’s north was a safe project that should not draw the anger of Laos’s Mekong basin neighbours.

“We are trying to progress, because this is an opportunity for us and we will do it sustainably,” Daravong said. “If the project is sustainable, they have no reason to object.”

Daravong went as far as to say he had received no objections from Cambodia and Vietnam – two countries that claim to have written to Laos recently, urging it to halt the project until trans-boundary impacts of the US$ 3.8 billion project are studied.

The minister confirmed that work had been completed on the Mekong’s banks at the site, but further work had been postponed until the rainy season ended.

“We are selling energy to neighbouring countries,” he said. “Right now, we are selling to Thailand, we are selling to Vietnam, and we are selling a little bit to Cambodia. We plan to sell to anybody who shares a border with Laos.”

Mekong River Commission countries – Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand – agreed last December not to allow the project to be built until the trans-boundary impacts on communities further down the Mekong had been studied.

So far, this has not been done, despite pledges of funding from Japan.

Cambodian Industry, Mine and Energy Minister Suy Sem said yesterday the MRC would await such a study.

“We don’t have any idea about the comments. Even if we did this, we would have to go through the Mekong River Comission,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National