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24 Mai 2024

Agence France Presse,
The Irrawaddy

Myanmar: Junta reportedly revives plans for controversial Chinese-backed Myitsone dam, despite earlier suspension over environmental concerns

"Myanmar Junta Revives Plans For China-backed Mega-dam" 24 May 2024

Myanmar's junta has revived plans for a $3.6 billion Chinese-backed dam in the north of the country that was suspended more than 10 years ago following huge public opposition. The project to build the 6,000-megawatt Myitsone dam in northern Kachin state was ended in 2011 under a previous junta.

Its opponents said the dam on the Ayeyarwady river...would cause huge environmental damage and bring little benefit to the country.

The junta announced a new "leading group" for the hydropower project in a notice dated April 24... [the group is] led by the regime’s Deputy Electricity Minister Aye Kyaw...The junta-appointed Kachin State natural resources minister is the deputy chairman of the body... It will work with China's State Power Investment Corporation's (SPIC) Yunnan International Power Investment Company on "research, technical solutions, and public relations,"...

A 2015 environmental assessment commissioned by the Myanmar government strongly advised against the dam's construction, saying the move could alter the river flow on a wide scale. A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report in 2018 estimated that some 34 million people in Myanmar live in the Ayeyarwady basin, roughly two thirds of the country's population...

Beijing, the junta and the alliance have all not responded to AFP questions on whether the talks happened.