Vientiane Times, 13 March 2013
With Laos planning to build the Nam Ngum 3 dam in Xieng Khuang province, the reservoir area for the dam will have to be cleared to pave the way for the dam’s construction.
The government signed an agreement in Vientiane yesterday with Lao Timber Company Ltd (the Lao subsidiary of a Hong Kong parent), requiring the company to clear the reservoir area that will be flooded when the river is dammed.
Under the agreement, the company will remove trees from about half of the 4,953 hectare reservoir area. The timber will be used to make wooden by-products to supply the needs of the local market and for export to China and the world.
The agreement was signed between the Deputy Head of the General Staff Department of the Ministry of National Defence, Brigadier General Bouaxieng Champaphan, and a senior Director of Lao Timber Company Ltd Mr Tenny Lam, and was witnessed by other officials from both sides.
Mr Lam said “We’re the investor from Hong Kong and we’re interested in doing business in Laos after visiting this country several times.”
Clearing the land for the reservoir is the first business activity of the company in Laos, on which they plan to spend about US$50 million. This investment will only be used for equipment machinery and technical expertise.
Mr Lam said his comp any aimed to create an environmentally friendly situation by helping Laos to clear the reservoir in order to pave the way for construction of the dam and produce clean energy.
Project Director and Director of Lao Timber Company Ltd, Mr Locksley Lui, said the company planned to build a wooden by-product factory in Laos, which would generate jobs for Lao people and provide more income.
“If the said factory is built, it will create between 100 and 200 jobs opportunity for local labourers,” he said, adding that the company has decided to undertake this project to help stimulate the growth of the Lao economy and alleviate poverty in the country.
This is the first project of the Lao Timber Company Ltd which was established only half year ago. The company also plans to carry out this kind of work in other provinces such as Luang Prabang and Attapeu as part of their business expansion in Laos.
In addition, the company is exploring more investment opportunities in other areas of the country including organic farms, tree plantations, road and bridge construction and mining after seeing the many business opportunities here.
The parent company in Hong Kong does most of its business in telecoms infrastructure and plans to explore opportunities for this kind of business in Laos. The company also operates in Europe.
The Nam Ngum 3 dam will be built on the Nam Ngum River Basin. It is a key element of the country’s development of the hydropower sector, a vital engine for economic growth and an income earner for one of Asia’s least developed countries.
The construction of the 440MW hydropower plant is estimated to cost around US$1 billion and will be built and operated for 27 years by the Nam Ngum 3 Power Company.
The Nam Ngum 3 plant, expected to be operational in 2017, will be located upstream of the two existing hydropower plants on this river.