Council of Ministers Approves Coal-Fired Plant

The government has approved the construction of a 700-megawatt coal power plant in Preah Sihanouk province, saying it would help ease the country’s chronic electricity shortage, according to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers on Friday.

The statement said a 33-year contract had been granted to Cambodia International Investment Development Group to invest in the $362 million coal-fired plant, which will produce 270 megawatts by 2015.

In September, it was widely reported that Chinese firm Inner Mongolia Erdos Hongjun Investment Co would enter a joint venture with CIIDG to build the power plant, but Friday’s statement from the Council of Ministers made no mention of the partnership.

Officials from the Council of Ministers and Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy could not be reached yesterday.

Prak Chanroeun, Preah Sihanouk provincial director of industry, mines and energy, said yesterday that he was aware of the proposal, but did not know who owned CIIDG. He said he was also unaware of when the project would start.

“If this new project is approved by the government, it will go ahead,” he said. “We welcome the project because it will create jobs for laborers and produce…energy.”

Mr Chanroeun said construction on another coal power plant commenced in Stung Hav district in February. He said the 100 megawatt plant was being constructed by Cambodia Energy Limited, though it has previously been reported that Malaysian firm Leader Universal Holdings was in charge of the plant’s construction.

He said he expected Stung Hav to also be the location for the new, larger power plant. “I have learned that Stung Hav…would be a construction site because there are no other areas,” he said.

Thuon Socheat, deputy director-general of the provincial technical department of Electricite du Cambodge, said he was too aware of the project, but claimed he did not know specific details about who owned CIIDG or when the project would get under way.

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