Vientiane Times, 21 November 2014
The government has given the green light for Chinese investors to build a 168MW hydropower project on the Nam Tha river in Luang Namtha and Bokeo provinces.
The 30-year concession agreement was signed in Vientiane on Tuesday by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong, and President of Nam Tha 1 Lao Power Company, Mr Han Rui.
Among those present at the signing ceremony were Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Mines’ Department of Energy Business, Mr Sichath Boudsakittilath; Deputy Directors of the Luang Namtha and Bokeo provincial Departments of Planning and Investment respectively, Mr Bountham Inthapaseuth and Ms Phuangphanh Phoumsav; and General Manag er of the Nam Tha 1 Lao Power Company, Mr Sun Peng.
Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad also witnessed the signing of the concession agreement.
Nam Tha 1 Lao Power Co., Ltd., which was created by CSG International, began work on the project late last year. A 40-km access road has been built from Road No. R3 to the project site in Pha-oudom district, Bokeo province, and some communities have been relocated.
The project includes the construction of a 115-kV transmission line with a length of 82km from the powerhouse to the substation in Huayxai district and another 115-kV transmission line 40km in length from the powerhouse to another substation, in Luang Namtha province.
It will take four years to build the 3.1 trillion kip (US$340 million) dam.
The dam will create a reservoir of 64 square kilometres to store about 17.55 billion cubic metres of water, and will flood 34 villages.
In his remarks at the signing ceremony, China Southern Power Grid Company (CSG) Vice President Wang Jiuling said the concession agreement symbolised the deepening cooperation in electricity generation between China and Laos.
Mr Wang pledged that the company would strictly follow the conditions of the concession agreement in implementing the project, and would comply with safety measures and project quality standards.
He also promised that the dam would be finished within the set timeframe so that commercial operations could begin in the near future. The company would source construction materials locally whenever possible, and employ local people to work on the project.
Mr Wang explained that CSG was the parent company of CSG International, which had in turn set up the Nam Tha 1 Lao Power Co., Ltd.
CSG is a major power company in China, and financed and built power grids in the provinces of Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan. The total area covered by the grid is 1 million sq km and 230 million people are supplied with power from the network.