The government has agreed in principle to a 1,400MW hydropower dam in Stung Treng province to be built jointly by local conglomerate Royal Group of Companies Ltd and China (Cambodia) Rich International Co Ltd.

According to a letter from Royal Group of Companies chairman Kith Meng to Stung Treng provincial governor Svay Sam Eang obtained by The Post on March 24, the technical adviser in charge of the Stung Treng Hydropower Project’s feasibility study, Huadong Engineering Corp Ltd, had asked the provincial governor to allow the technical team to carry out the work as planned.

On December 23, the technical team of the engineering company sent six technicians to Stung Treng province to prepare for a geological study at the foot of the dam that will be drilling at 27 points.

The letter noted that the project would require a team of up to 20 specialists, up to 40 Cambodian staff and is scheduled to take six months, from January to June 2022.

Eang issued a letter on January 6 to the district governors of Thala Barivat and Borey O’Svay Senchey requesting that they, along with relevant districts, cooperate with the technical working group of the engineering company to facilitate the works.

Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman and director-general for Energy, Heng Kunleang, could not be reached for comment.

Stung Treng Provincial Administration deputy director and spokesperson Men Kung told The Post that the engineering company only studies the feasibility of projects. He clarified that this was not a study for a construction project, which could only be the case if the government explicitly gives the green light for it.

The feasibility study for the hydropower project was conducted by the engineering company in three locations of the Mekong River in Stung Treng province.

Kung noted that if the 1,400MW hydropower dam were to materialise, it will create electricity security for the region and more jobs for locals “as it will encourage the transition from traditional farming to modern, intensive farming. In addition, lower electricity prices in the country attract more investors”, he said.

Stung Treng province already has one hydropower plant, the Lower Sesan 2, which is capable of generating 400MW of power.