The Myanmar government has said it does not intend to restart a halted hydro-power dam backed by Chinese funds, the Financial Times reports, offering yet another sign of pushback among Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative partners.
U Thaung Tun, Myanmar’s minister of investment and foreign relations, said that the Myitsone dam would have “enormous impact on the environment and on the people and villages in the area” of Kachin. He added that the country was drawing up plans for an alternative hydro-power project.
Work on the dam was suspended in 2011 after local groups placed pressure on the government. It was set to become one of the largest hydro-power dams in the world, but to reach completion thousands of residents would be displaced to escape the flood zone.
Ninety percent of the power generated was due to be sold to China, according to the FT, with the remainder staying within Myanmar. Beijing has reportedly pushed the government to reopen the project.
“There is no need for this dam now,” U Thaung Tun said. “Having sunk capital, of course, these people [the Chinese construction group] would like to continue at all costs.”