LAOS

The controversial Nam Theun ii hydro dam project has run into trouble. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand ( egat ) has cancelled plans to purchase electricity from the dam. The cancellation has dealt a final blow to the dam's developers, who have poured us $30 million into the project so far but have failed to secure either World Bank or commercial financing.

The project is likely to cost around us $1.2 billion and without egat 's power purchase agreement, the project's developers including Electricit de France, the world's largest electrical utility and the Australian construction company, Transfield, will have to chip in further capital for the dam. The dam has been mired in environmental controversies ever since the project was initiated. If work on the dam proceeds, it would flood areas which are home to the region's threatened populations of tiger, elephant, white-winged duck and two newly-identified species, the large-antler muntjac and the Vu Quang ox besides the Makong and Thai Bo tribes.

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