Cambodian lawmakers on Tuesday passed draft legislation that
would ensure financing for two Chinese hydroelectric companies, for
projects costing more than $1.3 billion and expected to provide power to
a fifth of the country.
The projects, from China National Machinery and
the Michel Corporation, are part of ongoing efforts by the government to
harness the energy of Cambodian waterways, from the Mekong to the
Cardamom Mountains, totaling six projects, five Chinese and one from
"The passage [of the laws] will allow these two
companies to start their work immediately," said Suy Sem, minister of
Industry, Mines and Energy, at the end of a National Assembly session
China National Machinery will invest in a dam on the Ta Tai
river in the Cardamom Mountains of Koh Kong province, spending $540
million on a 37-year project, and Michel will spend $496 million over 30
years for a dam in Roeussey Chrum Krom, also in the Cardamoms.
investment is too long, and the selling price [of electricity
to Electricite du Cambodge] is too expensive, compared to
other countries," Yim Sovann, an opposition lawmaker for the Sam
Rainsy Party, said during the National Assembly session.
warn the dams could severely impact the environment inan area of rare
and abundant wildlife.
"This investment will destory them," said Gny
San, deputy director ofthe NGO Forum of Cambodia, which has conducted a
survey on the impactof hydroelectric power development in the country.