Asian bank eyes impact study for Laos’ 460-MW Nam Ngum 3

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is considering providing US$1 million to the government of Laos to fund a cumulative impact assessment for the 460-MW Nam Ngum 3 hydroelectric proposed for Laos’ Nam Ngum River Basin.

Thailand’s biggest private power producer, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL, said in January that it would buy a 25 percent stake in Nam Ngum3. Ratchaburi said it, another Thai company, a Japanese firm, and the Laos government plan to bring the project on line in 2013.

ADB is considering technical assistance to Laos’ Ministry of Energy and Mines for a cumulative impact assessment study consistent with the government’s environmental and social sustainability policy for the hydropower sector, as well as ADB policy.

The study would assess effects of the project, predict major cumulative environmental impacts of Nam Ngum 3 and other developments in the basin, indicate threshold levels of sustainable development, and set environmental parameters and targets. The results are to be used to develop a comprehensive environmental and social mitigation plan.

ADB said a team of international consultants is expected to be recruited in late 2006 to carry out two components of the technical assistance program. Component A will require consultants with expertise in water resource management, environment, hydrology, water quality, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, land use, social impact, health, geographical information systems, planning, and design and implementation of a monitoring program. Component B will require consultants with expertise in environment management and capacity building.

Laos’ Ministry of Energy and Mines would be the executing agency for the program if approved. The ADB project officer is Edvard M. Baardsen, Asian Development Bank, Lao Resident Mission, Manila, Philippines; (63) 2-6325544; E-mail: ebaardsen@adb.org; Internet: www.adb.org.

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