China to build two more hydropower plants in Shan State

Shan Herald Agency for News

The Burmese military junta has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chinese officials to build two more hydropower plants in Shan State North during the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to Naypyitaw in last December 2009, according to a report from the China-Salween, an Environment group that focuses on hydropower developments along the Salween (Thanlwin) river and its tributaries.

According to the New Light of Myanmar (NLM) report on 21 December that 16 MoUs and agreements had been signed during the visit including three on hydropower arrangements, but no more details were reported.

The agreement was signed on 20 December between China Hydropower Engineering Consulting Group (HydroChina) and the Union of Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power No. 1, for developing the Nao Pha (Nawng Pha ) Hydropower station on the mainstream Thanlwin (Salween) River and the Man Tung (Man Ton) Hydropower station on its tributary, Nam Ma River. Thanlwin River, better known as the Salween (Nu River in China), is Burma’s second largest river.

The said projects are to generate 1200 megawatts and were among seven projects that will be initiated with foreign investment, the report quoted the Electric Power Minister-1 Zaw Min as saying.

According to HydroChina Corp’s website (, that that it is the  “only giant enterprise that furnishes comprehensive and full range of  technical services in the field of hydropower, water resources development and wind power development in China, including planning of river basins,  reconnaissance, design, consultancy, construction supervision, appraisal,  evaluation, safety appraisal, check and acceptance, construction, project  management and EPC contracting for hydropower and new energy development,  and development, investment, operation and management of hydropower and new  energy projects as well.”

“The projects have already been drafted by the company,” the report said.

The report said “It seems probable that a hydropower plant on the Nam Ma could possibly generate some 200 – 300 MW.   This would  mean that the  Nawngpha (Nao Pha) dam and  power station on the Salween would be built to generate some 900 – 1000  MW,” according to the China Salween Watch.”

Man Ton (other spellings = Man Tung and Mantaung) is a village near the mouth of Nam Ma river in the northwestern part of the Wa region.  This river rises near the Chinese border in the northeastern part of the Wa region and flows past the market town of Mong Mao (or Mongmai) to empty into the Salween (Thanlwin).

It added that both dams and power stations are located in what might be called Wa territory could probably bring some complications that may lead the survey crews to be extra careful about security arrangements.

In February, the reported that Chinese firms were planning to develop 7 dams in the Wa and Mongla areas, which have been up in arms against Naypyitaw’s plan to transform all the armed groups that have ceasefire agreements into Burma Army run militia forces.

One of them will be on the Nam Hka (also written Nam Kha) River, a tributary of the Nu-Salween River, that flows through the Wa capital Panghsang and another 6 will be built on the Nam Lwi (also written Nam Lwe) River, a tributary of the Mekong, that roughly serves as the boundary of areas under the control of the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA).

A border watcher analyst that it is one of the Burma Army’s plans to destroy the armed groups. “Therefore it is giving more favor to the Chinese in order to draw them to its side.”

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