PETALING JAYA: Mega First Corp Bhd, the developer of the Don Sahong hydroelectric plant (DSHP) in Laos, has said that its project is unaffected by the dam breach incident at a nearby development.
The company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia that this was confirmed after making enquiries with the management of Don Sahong Power Company (DSPC) and its consultants.
DSPC is a subsidiary of Mega First.
“At this juncture, the board concurs with the management of DSPC and its consultants that the incident is unlikely to result in any delay in the completion of the Don Sahong project, or a material change in the overall cost of the project,” Mega First said in its Bursa announcement.
On Monday, it was reported that one of the dams at the US$1bil Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy (XPXN) hydroelectric power project collapsed amid heavy rains, flooding villages in the province of Attapeu, killing at least 19 people.
Mega First’s Don Sahong project is located in the neighbouring Champasak province.
The company also conveyed its sympathies to those who have been affected by the tragic incident.
“Naturally, in light of these events, we have taken immediate steps to satisfy ourselves of the present and ongoing safe status of DSHP.
“As such, we are satisfied that present and future dam safety risks remain extremely low and are being appropriately monitored and managed in accordance with industry and international best practices,” it said.
In its announcement, the company also said that there were some key differences between the DSHP and XPXN projects that prevent the risks relating to a dam failure from happening at the DSHP site.
Some of these differences include the fact that XPXN is a storage scheme that enables it to store very large volumes of water during the dry season, while DSHP is a “run of river” scheme which holds a comparatively small volume (or only 1% of XPXN’s main reservoir) of water in its headpond.
It also noted that the DSHP dam is a concrete gravity dam, while the XPXN is a saddle dam, with an earth-filled embankment.
“The DSHP permanent works will include low (maximum 23 metres) concrete-constructed embankments running along either side of the five-km long Hou Sahong river channel, which comprises one of about ten discrete channels that form the Mekong River at this location,” it said.
“The embankments are connected at their downstream ends to a 110-meter long powerhouse barrage of the same crest level that crosses the river channel.
“These structures will together impound a small headpond which, when the DSHP turbines are operating, will have the appearance and characteristics of a river channel with dimensions of slightly wider than the existing Hou Sahong terminal,” it added.
The company said that the construction of DSHP is still ongoing with a 65% progress rate, noting that the filling of the headpond with water from the Mekong River is scheduled for the next wet season in the year 2019.