Coal-powered developments threaten Cambodia’s largest national park

Within a protected area covered by a patchwork of plantations, Cambodian officials are making space for yet another industrial zone, and a new coal-fired power plant

Cambodia’s government has granted permission for a new special economic zone (SEZ) and coal-fired power plant within the lush Botum Sakor National Park in coastal Koh Kong province. The SEZ would create another loosely regulated industrial area within a biodiverse primary forest.

Late last year, Koh Kong officials announced a pending deal for the SEZ of over 100 square kilometres with one of Cambodia’s biggest conglomerates, Royal Group.

The group had earlier announced its plans for the 700 MW coal power plant in the national park, in collaboration with Sinosteel, promising to sell 80% of its energy to the state electricity utility. Chinese corporations have been connected to several of Cambodia’s against-the-grain efforts to embrace coal power.

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