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Thailand, China and Burma are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for the development of the 7,000-megawatt Mong Ton hydropower project on the upper Salween River this year, Thailand’s The Nation reported on Wednesday, quoting Thai Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee.
Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand International and Chinese state enterprise Three Gorges Corp will have 40 percent stake each, while the Burmese government will own the remaining 20 percent.
The plant is expected to take five years to construct, and in its initial stage, estimated to deliver approximately 700-megawatts of power to Burma, where only 16 percent of people have access to electricity. The remaining 6,300-megawatts will be sold back to Thailand, the minister said.
Hydropower dam projects along the Salween River has been strongly opposed by numerous non-governmental organisations and community-based groups, who argue that they cause environmental degradation and community displacement.