$3.8bn hydroelectric project commences in Laos

A groundbreaking ceremony has taken place at the Mekong River in Laos to mark the beginning of construction of the controversial $3.8bn Xayaburi dam.

The Laotian government have tried to reduce fears from environmentalists and neighbouring nations by adapting the design of the plant.

Xayaburi dam
The four Mekong nations, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, who rely on the river system for fish and irrigation, are divided on the 1260 MW project and it has been stalled by 18 months due to the issues involved.

Deputy energy minister Viraphon Viravong said some aspects of the dam's design had been changed to "reassure neighbouring countries", but he insisted that objections would not derail plans to finish the project by the end of 2019.

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