first_imgA recent social media posting by a government spokesman indicates that the Sambor Dam is a priority project for the Cambodian government, to be completed by 2027 with an output of 1,800 megawatts.The developer that originally planned to build the dam, China Southern Power Grid, pulled out of the project after villagers protested the dam’s potential impact on fisheries. Studies indicate the dam could reduce yields of fish and aquatic animals by as much as 30 percent.China Southern Power Grid’s feasibility studies also indicated that 19,000 people would have to be relocated for the dam.In 2013, the Cambodian government hired the US-based National Heritage Institute to review options for the project. The report prepared by NHI has not been made public, which has drawn criticism from civil society groups. KRATIE PROVINCE, Cambodia — “If the dam is built, it will be like before, in the time of the Khmer Rouge when we all had to move,” said Plau Saret, 44, of Domrae Village on the Mekong River island of Koh Tnaot, right next to the proposed Sambor Dam site. In 2011, she and her husband built a new house. Then, a few years ago, she saw Chinese surveyors digging in the river.The Sambor Dam is one of Cambodia’s priority energy projects, according to the country’s “Master plan for the development of energy generation.” This plan was a well-kept secret until two pages from it appeared Feb. 17 in a snapshot posted on the Facebook page of Phay Siphan, a government spokesman.The plan posted by Siphan states the Sambor Dam will be completed in three stages from 2025-2027, with a total power output of 1,800 megawatts. Attempts by Mongabay to get government comments on the plan were not answered and few details are yet known about the proposed scheme.The dam, in Kratie province, is the biggest of Cambodia’s two proposed mainstream Mekong dams. It has been on the drawing board for over a decade, but final plans do not yet appear to be in place. Last month, the Cambodia Daily reported that in October 2016 the cabinet greenlighted feasibility studies for the Sambor and two other proposed dams, but as yet there has been no confirmation that the Ministry of Mines and Energy has signed on.It’s unclear who will undertake construction work, but Cambodian business tycoon Kith Meng, chairman of The Royal Group, was in February announced as the Cambodian partner. According to rights group Global Witness, Meng is, “known for involvement in land grabbing and illegal logging.” Global Witness also found that the Prime Minister’s daughter, Hun Mana “is a director and shareholder in Royal Group Investment Company.”last_img

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