Mind the environment, Lao PM tells Xekong coal mine operator

Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone (second left) visits a coal mine in Xekong province. - Pathetlao Daily Newspaper

VIENTIANE: The Prime Minister has advised the operator of a coal mine in Xekong province to address the environmental and social impacts arising from mining operations.

The advice was given during a working visit by Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone and his delegation to the coal mine in Kaleum district on June 20. The mine is owned and operated by the Phonesack Group.

The company should provide more assistance for the improvement of local infrastructure and transport, as well as farming activities and the improvement of local people’s living standards, the Prime Minister said.

He advised provincial authorities to pay more attention to the conditions of workers at the mine and to be frugal when importing fuel for use by the mine, as well as making sure that payments made for fuel were not excessive.

The premier instructed the company to ensure that mining operations progressed in accordance with the plan for each phase of development and were in line with the law, according to a report in the Pathetlao Daily newspaper.

Coal exploration and mining is taking place over an area of more than 700 square kilometres. It is hoped that about 800 million tons of coal can be mined, of which about 400 million tons will be used to power a 1,800MW thermal power plant, which will be built in Kaluem district from 2025-2030.

The remaining 400 million tonnes will be sold to buyers in Laos and other countries.

The Prime Minister also met with the leaders of Xekong to discuss the overall development of the province, state management and social management, the government’s plan of work for the first and second six months of 2024, and the challenges encountered in the defence and development of Laos.

The premier instructed provincial leaders to continue to execute the government’s national agenda on tackling the country’s economic and financial problems, the credit policy to stimulate the economy, improvement of business operations and investment, effective management of large-scale investment projects, and the resolution of various problems as appropriate.

He stressed the need to increase the production of goods in Laos to reduce the volume of imported goods, as well as combining large-scale projects to produce and supply agricultural products for local use, including at the mine, as this will provide a market for local farmers.

The Prime Minister then inspected the Lalai border crossing in Samuay district, Saravan province, where he instructed provincial authorities to complete the survey and measurement of land so that land titles could be issued.

He also called on authorities to partner with the public works and transport sector to design basic infrastructure at the border crossing, ensuring that passage across the border was fast and that vehicles and people could be processed using modern and efficient methods. - Vientiane Times/ANN

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Laos , Xekong , coal , mine , environment


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