By Eleven Media Group
The government has reportedly halted a hydropower dam project with Italian-Thai Development Plc in Taninthayi region of lower Myanmar, citing its possible environmental and social impacts.
Ital-Thai’s dam project located near Myeik township was expected to generate at least 800 megawatts of electricity upon completion, but is believed to pose flood risks to the thousands of hectares of farmland in the area.
Environmental and social impact analysis reports suggest the dam project should not continue. The President’s Office was informed of this and gave its approval to stop the project, sources said.
“We are glad to hear the news. We welcome this action, which considers the welfare of the local people,” a resident of Dawei township said.
Italian-Thai Development Plc, which is undertaking the Dawei Deep Sea Port and Special Economic Zone Project in Taninthayi, had planned to export electricity generated by the dam to Thailand, and to use some of the power to supply the port project.
The Thai construction giant conducted a feasibility survey on the project in March 2011. It initially proposed that the Ministry of Electrical Power install a dam of 600MW capacity on the Taninthayi River, and signed a contract with the authorities.
The firm later planned to nearly double the capacity of the dam to generate about 1040MW of electricity. Studies showed that the dam could cause floods in the area and that about 61,000 acres [25,000 hectares] of farmland was exposed to the risk.
“The project is situated in the Aungthawara area near Myeik township. The area is rich in gold resources.
“The company has completed preliminary studies. The project hasn’t started, but roads have been built,” a person with knowledge of the project said.