Mekong Eye

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Thailand

  • Villagers from Bamnetnarong district visited 5 ASEAN Embassies , protesting coal-fired power plant

    01/11/2016

    More than 30 representatives from Bamnetnarong District in Chaiyapoom province submitted a letter to ASEAN diplomatic representative, protesting the coal-fired power plant for Potash mining project. The content of the letter stated that ASEAN Potash Mining Company Limited (Public) is pushing the construction plan of coal power plants for use in the mining operation, informing the villagers that Thailand shortage of energy. And the villagers against the use of coal for electricity generation.

  • Japan raises stake in Dawei project

    01/08/2016

    The Thai Cabinet today approved the proposed increase in Japan’s stake in the Dawei development project to 33.33 per cent. Under the Finance Ministry’s proposal, the stakes of Thailand and Myanmar will fall from 50:50 to 33.33 per cent. The investment remains capped at Bt100 million per each country.

    Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Officer, said that the change followed Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak’s visit to Japan.

    Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that the three parties would meet on December 14 with the high-level working group and Dawei Development Co Ltd’s representatives.

  • Kaeng Sua Ten dam project: three decades of heroic community struggle

    01/08/2016

    After 30 years, community-led anti-Kaeng Sua Ten dam movement is still hailed as a watershed of Thailand’s environmental conservation. Villagers have not only argued for their rights to protect livelihood and natural resources, but also articulate socio-economic losses if the project is to be built. The dam, proposed by the Royal Irrigation Department, would inundate many villages and Thailand’s last teak forest ecosystem in the Mae Yom National Park in northern Thailand. Environmental economic studies find that environmental opportunity losses will be greater than gains from flood control and irrigation as promised by the project.

  • Report: Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydropower Development in the Lower Mekong Basin

    01/08/2016

    The Mekong River is the largest freshwater fishery in the world (estimated fish catch 2.1 to 2.5 million tons/year) and the third most bio-diverse river system (with approximately 800 fish species) after the Amazon and the Congo. However, this would change drastically if all proposed hydropower projects are constructed as fish migration routes would be blocked.

    This paper focuses on potential economic consequences and is based on the Costanza report which in turn used much of the data, assumptions and projections reported in BDP2 and SEA. The main differences between the Costanza report and BDP2 were the estimated fish value, valuation of ecosystem services and discount rates for natural capital such as capture fisheries and wetlands.

  • Ghost town ‘forgotten’ in Chiang Khong border trade

    01/07/2016

    The freshly painted welcome signs at Chiang Khong market are conspicuous, greeting visitors as they cross the border from Laos. Few arrive however, and behind the signs they see only shuttered shops and scattered clothing sellers.

    The “new town”, as some business operators called it after the opening of the fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River in 2013, is now known as a ghost town by locals.
    Once a bustling trade development area, the market located just a kilometre from the bridge, has been a flop and doesn’t seem to be able to attract tourists.

    But there is a chance the market could be resurrected, after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government announced Chiang Rai would be the location for the second phase of the Special Economic Zones, set to be launched this year.

  • Villagers fight waiver of EIA for power plants

    12/15/2015

    REPRESENTATIVES of people from seven provinces yesterday filed a complaint with the Central Administrative Court in Bangkok calling on the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to revoke its announcement waiving environment impact assessments (EIA) for waste-fired power plants.

  • Mekong: a river rising

    12/04/2015

    The fate of 70 million people rests on what happens to the Mekong river. With world leaders meeting in Paris next week for crucial UN climate talks, John Vidal journeys down south-east Asia’s vast waterway – a place that encapsulates some of the dilemmas they must solve. He meets people struggling to deal with the impacts of climate change as well as the ecological havoc created by giant dams, deforestation, coastal erosion and fast-growing cities

  • Heated Mae Sot SEZ 97 households are convicted

    11/29/2015

    Lands have been expropriated and Mae Sot villagers, who worry about having industrial estates in the area instead. They protested against the issuing of ‘land deeds’ for originally reserved forest. If the state succeeds then local communities could be arrested as invaders, said a conservation group of Mae sot residents. The expropriated areas include 803 rai of national reserved forest, 2,182 rai of permanent forest area, and 13 rai of public space. The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand was assigned to manage 803 rai and the Treasury Department manages 1,287 rai.

  • China, Laos to build $6.3 bln railway project by 2020 – China Economic Herald

    11/29/2015

    China aims to complete laying a 418-kilometre (260-mile) railway from a border town to Laos by 2020, the official China Economic Herald reported, as the economic giant seeks a new route into the emerging markets of Southeast Asia.

    The two countries agreed on Friday to jointly build a 40-billion yuan ($6.28 billion) railway from the border town of Boten to the Laos capital Vientiane, the Herald reported.

    The deal was announced at a signing ceremony attended by senior officials from the National Development & Reform Commission the country’s top economic planner, China Railway Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of China, the paper said.

    Laos, poor and landlocked, has traditionally been firmly in the orbit of its larger neighbour to the east, Vietnam.

    But China has been aggressively courting Laos as it sees the communist-ruled country as an important route into Southeast Asia, and its ports on the Mekong River for landlocked parts of southwestern China such as Yunnan.

  • Thai power producer RATCH to invest $1b in overseas plants in Indonesia, Laos, China

    11/29/2015

    Thailand’s listed power producer Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL (RATCH) plans to invest around $1 billion in power plants in Indonesia, Laos and China, a top official with the company said.

    The company expects its aggressive investment to double its electricity production capacity to 8,000 megawatts, increasing its enterprise value from the current level of 124 billion baht to 188 billion baht by 2018.

    Rum Herabat, the newly-appointed chief executive officer, said the company is looking at three main approaches to increase business. These include – exploring new investments, managing efficiency of main power plants and completing construction of new power plants as planned.

    The potential projects, for which the company is conducting feasibility studies and negotiation include, 2,000-MW JAWA7 in Indonesia, 400-MW Sekong 4 hydropower project in Lao PDR, seven solar farms projects for the public sector in Thailand (with a combined capacity of 35 MW) and 2,000-MW power plant project in China.

  • IEAT aims to establish industrial estates in SEZs –Bangkok Biz (Thai language)

    11/27/2015

    The governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Mr. Verapong Chaiperm mentioned that currently, Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) is accelerating the study design on the establishment of industrial estates in the special economic zones in Sa kaeo and Mae Sot, Tak provinces in according to the policies of Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy prime minister who has been delegated during the recent Policy Committee on Special Economic Zone Development. They are expecting to finish the study within the six months period before the implementation of the next investment phrase. This is a part of the pilot project that will also engage private sectors to invest in this respective area. For investment of enterprises which are required to comply with IEAT’s rules and regulations involved many steps for example, the study on EIA and is subjected to PM’s consideration if any special laws can be applied to shorten the process in order to speed up the investment and to meet the required timeframe.

  • Isan activists accuse Thai junta of siding with gas corporation

    11/26/2015

    An environmental conservation group in Isan, Thailand’s Northeast, says that the Thai junta are siding with an oil and gas corporation to plunder resources and urges the US government to take action against the multinational petroleum company.

    Na Mun-Dun Sat Conservation Group, an Isan environmental group, on Tuesday morning, 12 October 2015, rallied in front of the US Embassy in Bangkok and submitted a letter to embassy staff, urging the US government to hold Apico (Khorat) Limited, a US-based oil and gas exploration company, accountable.

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