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Construction of Xayaburi Dam in Laos hits another snag

The Laotian government has agreed to suspend construction of the US$3.5 billion Xayaburi hydroelectric dam on the Mekong River, pending further evaluation of the facility's environmental impact.

CH. Karnchang Public Co. Ltd. signed an agreement for the facility's construction in December 2008 that called for a 1,260-MW run-of-river facility, but pressure from several parties has already caused a number of delays.

Most vocal amongst the project's critics is the Mekong River Commission Council, which is comprised of water and environmental ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

A study conducted by the commission in 2010 proposed that the project be shelved for 10 years and said the 12 dams being planned for the Lower Mekong River could jeopardize the lives and food security of as many as 100 million people.

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