Kampot Dam Construction Set To Begin

Construction of the Kamchay hy­dro­electric dam in Kampot prov­ince, a $270 million project that has been on the drawing board for more than a decade, should get under way by next month, a government official said on Sunday.

“The building of the dam will start soon, maybe this month or in Feb­ruary during the dry season,” said Bun Narith, deputy director of the hydroelectric department at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

The project is expected to take four years to complete.

Sino Hydro Corp has been se­lect­ed for the project, although Prime Minister Hun Sen still has to sign the contract with that Chinese company, said Ith Praing, the ministry’s secretary of state.

“We still need to have it approved by the government upon submission to the prime minister by the Ministry of Finance and the Min­istry of Industry,” he said.

The power generated by the dam is to be sold to Electricite du Cambodge and distributed to customers in Phnom Penh Munici­pality and Kampot and Takeo prov­in­ces. The price consumers will have to pay will depend on the costs of the project for the company.

The Vietnamese News Agency reported last week that during a meeting with Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Sok An, Chinese Ambas­sador Hu Qian Wen said China will provide $280 million in soft loans to Chinese investors in the Cambo­dian hydropower project.

Ty Norin, head of the Electricity Authority of Cambodia, said Chin­ese state-run bank China Exim­bank had offered Sino Hydro a $270 million loan at 6-percent interest to build the dam.

The Chinese company had sought a 2-percent interest loan. Min­ister of Energy Suy Sem, who could not be reached on Sunday, previously said that he was negotiating with Eximbank to try to lower the interest rate for the project in order to lower the cost of the electricity the dam will generate.

Kampot Provincial Governor Puth Chandarith said that he has been notified that construction of the dam will start soon in the prov­ince, but added: “We haven’t seen any activity there yet.”


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