Formal construction on the controversial Don Sahong Dam in Laos will begin in early 2015, according to a Lao energy official, despite a host of concerns raised during an open consultation period with stakeholders.
The dam is being built by Malaysia’s Mega First Corporation Berhad (Mega First) on Southeast Asia’s key artery the Mekong River, just two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of Cambodia.
The project has sparked concern among neighboring countries and environmentalists who say that it will block migratory fish routes, negatively affecting nutrition and livelihoods across regional boundaries.
Daovieng Phonekeo, deputy director-general of the Lao Department of Electricity, told Radio Free Asia’s Lao Service that full-scale construction of the 260-megawatt dam would begin shortly after the end of a six-month consultation process which began in July.
“On Jan 21, the consultation process will be completed, and after that we will begin construction during this dry season (which runs from January to May), because during the rainy season we can’t carry out the work,” he said.
“If we can’t start construction this dry season, we will have to wait until the next dry season. But we have already planned (to begin this year).”
Regional governments are expected to meet in January to put forward their positions on the project.