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Vietnam keen to expand Cambodia hydro

Vietnamese companies are keen to invest in hydropower projects and rubber plantations in Cambodia, Cambodian officials said following a meeting of the nations' prime ministers.

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen December 18 that Vietnam is ready to invest millions of dollars in the neighboring nation.

"Vietnam has capital and technology while Cambodia has plenty of land and labor, so we can join hands to invest," Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who also attended the meeting, told reporters.

Vietnam plans to invest in two hydropower projects on the Se San River, which flows through Vietnam's Central highlands into Cambodia's Rattanakiri and Stung Treng provinces, Cambodian officials said.

The two plants, estimated to cost more than US$1 billion, are expected to produce at least 200 MW. They could help supply electricity to the eastern region of Cambodia, which faces power shortages, Cambodian officials said.

Cambodia, which produces 120 MW, well below its consumption of up to 300 MW, needs more power to support its garment industry, said the officials. Khieu said Cambodia has agreed to buy more electricity from Vietnam, which already has provided 89 million kilowatt-hours to Cambodia.

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) signed loan agreements with four Vietnamese banks in August to secure 1.8 trillion dong (US$112.5 million) for construction of the 330-MW Se San 4 hydroelectric project. (HNN 8/30/06) EVN also announced it would sell 900 billion dong (US$56.4 million) in five-year bonds to raise money for Se San 4 and two other hydropower projects, 320-MW Ban Ve and 163-MW An Khe Kanak.

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