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Controversial Laos dam project gets almost 1.6 billion dollars backing

Agence France Presse

May 4, 2005

A massive hydroelectric project in Laos has secured 1.58 billion dollars in financing commitments, the country’s Nam Theun 2 Power Co. Ltd (NTPC) said in a statement. The NTPC said it had signed documentation for loans of one billion dollars equivalent, denominated in equal proportions between Thai Baht and US dollars, in addition to
about 130 million dollars of bonds and 450 million dollars of equity commitments. The loans will be used by NTPC to finance construction and implementation of the 1,070 Megawatt hydroelectric project in Laos. The NTPC will sell 95 percent of its electricity to Thailand, making Nam Theun 2 the largest cross-border power project in Asia. The World Bank late last month decided to guarantee the hydroelectric dam which has caused concern over its possible environmental and social impact. The Nam Theun II dam, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) southeast of the Laotian capital Vientiane, will provide electricity to 17 provinces in Thailand from 2009. Around 6,200 Laotians will be displaced. Scores of
non-governmental organisations had urged the World Bank not to support a project which they said would not benefit the people but cause environmental degradation in the communist country.

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