Work powers ahead on Don Sahong dam
Khong district, Champassak province: A milestone has been reached in the development of the Don Sahong Hydropower Project with the start of construction of the cofferdam.
Dr Bounthong Divixay ( third left ) and Mr Viraphonh Viravong ( centre ) applaud the start of construction of the cofferdam.
This major component of the project is over 400 metres long and should be built in about one month.
A ceremony to mark the occasion took place here yesterday in Hua Sadam village. It was attended by provincial Governor Dr Bounthong Divixay, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Mr Viraphonh Viravong, project developers, local authorities and local residents.
A Buddhist ceremony was also held to mark the construction of the cofferdam, with the participation of local monks, to ensure the project proceeds as planned.
Speaking at the official opening, Mr Viraphonh said the hydropower project was essential for the development of the energy sector in Laos. The electricity generated by the dam will fuel development in the south of Laos.
The project will not only contribute to national development and poverty eradication but will deliver direct and indirect benefits to local communities and the region, he added.
Mr Viraphonh said the developer had carried out the project as planned and had been well supported not only by local people but also people overseas, scientists, and experts in the hydropower field.
But some groups in other countries had not received the correct information and were not well informed about the true situation surrounding the project so they were opposed to the dam, he noted.
Mr Viraphonh called on the project developer as well as engineers and consultants to take full responsibility for closely monitoring all aspects of the project to ensure it was carried out in line with international standards, rights and the 1995 Mekong Agreement.
He urged local authorities as well as people in the project area to play their part in contributing to the project so that on completion it would help to ease poverty and boost prosperity.
Dr Bounthong said the project was essential for the social and economic development of the province. The area was remote and villagers had to travel by boat to get around but when the dam is complete they will be able to use a road and bridge. He said the dam, which will have a capacity of 260MW, has the po tential to drive development in the area, especially rural development.
It is expected that when more electricity is generated through the dam, people will be able to abandon agriculture and switch to the production of goods. The project would also help people to access better education and healthcare, as well as electricity and water supplies, Dr Bounthong added.
The dam has a concession period of 25 years and is expected to generate about 2,000 GWh of electricity a year. It is expected to start commercial operation in 2019. In March, Mega First signed an agreement with the state-owned utility Electricite du Laos (EDL) to regulate its participation in building the dam.
Under the agreement, EDL holds a 20 percent stake in the Laos-incorporated Don Sahong Power Company Ltd (DSPC) while Ground Roses and Silver Acreage hold 79 percent and 1 percent respectively.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update Janaury 6, 2016)