PROJECT | Cesar Tordesillas, Vietnam

Chinese firm heeds protests to stop Cambodian hydro projects

Two Chinese state-owned companies held back from their investment projects in Cambodia under public pressure.


China Southern Power Grid has pulled out of controversial dam projects in the country after local villagers protested that the dams would ruin their fisheries.

CSG, a state-owned company established in 2002 to transmit and distribute electrical power in China's southern provinces, has quit all its potential power projects in Cambodia, said the company's spokesman
Rambo Niu Feng.

The power utility had conducted feasibility studies for at least six proposed dams in Cambodia with a total power output of more than 3,300 megawatts, according to 3S Rivers Protection Network,  a Cambodian civil society organisation.

China has become the biggest builder of dams and roads in Cambodia and, according to 3SPN Co-ordinator Meach Mean, the projected output of the CSG schemes is far above Cambodia's power consumption of 500MW.

The company's hydropower projects including those at the Sambor and Stung Cheay Areng in Cambodia threaten local populations and ecosystems, said International Rivers, an international NGO..

The Sambor project would have "unacceptable impact on fisheries", while the Stung Cheay Areng project would flood nine villages, the letter from International Rivers said.

The company's feasibility studies for a dam along the Srepok River in the northern Cambodian province of Ratanakiri aroused opposition from residents of Thmey Village, located 500 metres from the dam site. 

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