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    China Gezhouba Group signs deal to construct 35-MW Xelanong 2 hydropower project in Laos


    The China Gezhouba Group Corp. has signed an agreement with the Laotian government to develop a 35 MW hydroelectric plant in Laos’ southern Salavan province, according to reports from state news sources.
    China Gezhouba will develop what is being called the Xelanong 2 project using a build-operate-transfer model, with construction of the US$72 million facility expected to take about 40 months.
    Xelanong 2 and its 55-meter-high dam will be located on an unspecified tributary of the Mekong River and is part of the Laotian government’s effort to dramatically increase the availability of electricity to its population by 2020.
    Other significant hydroelectric plants being developed in Laos include the 1,285-MW Xayaburi, 1,156-MW Nam Ou and 410-MW Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy, amongst others.

  • Thilawa Zone B to start in November


    Development of the second stage of the country’s first economic zone will begin with infrastructure including roads, electricity and water, said U Myint Zaw, general manager of Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Limited.

    “We will implement Zone B in phases. Once one phase is complete, we will start on the next one,” he said.

    Meanwhile the smaller Zone A is around 90 percent complete, with US$760 million in foreign investment committed to the project across 400 hectares of land. The project is located to the south of Yangon.

  • Mekong Eye News Digest:10 August 2016


    A weekly update of news, commentary and resources on Mekong development projects, investment, EIAs and other development issues. We include a balanced and representative range of news and views from local, regional and global sources. The Digest reaches around 3500 key development professionals, government officials, business leaders and journalists.

  • Aung Sun Suu Kyi moves to clean up Myanmar’s murky jade trade


    Myanmar’s new government has announced ground-breaking reforms to its $31bn (£23.7bn) jade industry in a move campaigners claim could signal “a new era of fundamental change” in a business long dominated by abuse, corruption and cronyism.

    The decision to freeze any renewals of existing jade permits, and to suspend the licensing of new ones, follows a series of deadly landslides in resource-rich Kachin state, widespread protests against lack of regulations, and extensive NGO and media reports exposing social and environmental abuses in Myanmar’s jade trade.

  • Stakeholders Confirm Need for Public Participation in EIA Processes During Cambodia’s National Public Consultation Workshop


    Key stakeholders related to EIA in Cambodia provided feedback on Cambodia’s draft national guidelines on public participation in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process during the country’s first national public consultation workshop on 19 July 2016 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, organized by the Ministry of Environment with the Vishnu Law Group and funded by the […]

  • Govt to survey dams nationwide


    The government is planning on reviewing the status of dams throughout the country to see if they are worth keeping. U Htun Win, deputy minister for agriculture, livestock and irrigation, told parliament on August 2 that the review would take into account the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and long-term benefit of the dams.

    A shift in policy, away from building dams and toward running irrigation channels to farmland, has already led to a 50 percent cut in the request for irrigation funding next year. The ministry’s assistant secretary, U Myo Tint Tun, told The Myanmar Times on July 18 that expenditure in 2017-18 would be less than half of this year’s level, falling from K253 billion (US$216 million) to K120 billion. The funds would be used primarily to provide irrigation drainage to existing dams that lacked it.

  • SEZ polluting Bavet canal, villagers say


    Villagers living along a canal in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town say its water has been polluted by untreated discharge from the nearby Manhattan Special Economic Zone (SEZ), rendering it unusable.

    Three communes live along the Tapov canal – Bati, Prasat and Bavet – with villagers from the first two saying that they have complained about the pollution since 2015 and that the quality of the water has continued to decline and the smell is unbearable.

  • Cambodia Pushing for More Benefits From Mekong Integration


    The government is seeking to develop ways of increasing the benefit felt by Cambodia from economic corridors opened throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion as part of Asean integration, an official has said.

    Sok Chenda Sophea, secretary general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, told reporters after a meeting of ministers from countries in the region held on Thursday that the government had developed a strategy to remain competitive.

  • Regional Journalist Network Examines Dams, Diversion, Drought and Difficult Decisions


    At the junction of the Loei and Mekong Rivers in Thailand, Journalists from around the Mekong region examined an example of the current mix of stresses on the environment and communities across the region. The workshop “Mekong Matters: Water Governance on the Mekong River” brought 15 journalists from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam together to examine how various water development projects are causing potentially irreversible changes to fisheries, farming, culture and water supply.

  • A responsible press can help empower Myanmar’s young, growing democracy


    As a voracious consumer of Myanmar journalism over some time, I am fascinated by how the country’s transition to freedom of the press takes root and prospers.

    Progress toward press freedom has occurred very rapidly in Myanmar since 2012, but we still see too many instances of journalists being detained and even charged over what they have published.

  • Grain drain, Laos’ sand mining damaging the Mekong


    Grain by grain, truckload by truckload, Laos’ section of the Mekong River is being dredged of sand to make cement — a commodity being devoured by a Chinese-led building boom in the capital.

    But the hollowing out of the riverbed is also damaging a vital waterway that feeds hundreds of thousands of fishermen and farmers in the poverty-stricken nation.

    “Today, it’s more complicated for us to go fetch water for crops,” DeamSaengarn told AFP from the muddy river’s shores, describing how its gentle slopes have given way to steep embankments.

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