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Mong Ton (or Tasang) Dam, Myanmar

The Mong Ton Dam, also known as Tasang, is one of the seven proposed dams in the Salween river in Myanmar. If completed, it will the largest dam in the country. So far, up to 300,000 people have been displaced.


Also known as Tasang dam, the Mong Ton project is a proposed dam in the Salween river, one of the largest rivers in Myanmar that flows through most of the eastern part of the country. With a projected capacity of 7000MW [1], the Mong Ton dam is one of the seven dams planned in the Myanmar section of the Salween river, also called Nu River in China and the Thanlwin River by the Myanmar government, and it will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Myanmar if completed. It will be located in southern Shan State, an area prone to ethnic conflicts. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mong Ton (or Tasang) Dam, Myanmar
State or province:Shan State
Location of conflict:Mong Ton
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Projected capacity: 7000MW

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Level of Investment:6,000,000,000 - 14,450,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:200,000-300,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/1996
Company names or state enterprises:Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) from Thailand
Sinohydro Corporation Limited (Sinohydro) from China
MDX Group from Thailand - The first study of the project was conducted in 1981 by the Japanese company Nippon Koei and a contract was signed with the Thai developer MDX Group. In 2009, the contract with MDX Group was canceled because the construction was not going fast enough.
China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG ) from China
China Southern Power Grid from China
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Electric Power (Myanmar), Tatmadaw (Burmese military)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Salween Watch Coalition, International Rivers (, Burma Campaign UK (, Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
and others
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Karen indigenous group
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Other Environmental impactsThe reservoir will inundate a vast area that is now covered by primary forest. Logging has already started. The dam might also disrupt the hydrology of the river.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsBetween 200,000 and 300,000 people have already been displaced to clean the area for the reservoir. If the dam is built, more people might be displaced. Women will also be more impacted due to their vulnerable socio-economic conditions at their household and community level.
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
There is no construction activities at the dam site, but the project has not been officially canceled.
Development of alternatives:Local groups propose to cancel all the dam projects along the Salween river and look for alternative sources of energy.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is still on the government's agenda and might push it forward if a peace agreement is reached with the rebel groups.
Sources and Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Brief summary of Mong Ton (Mai Tong/Tasang) Dam Project 1 (July 2016). Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance(TERRA).
[click to view]

[4] China Southern Power Grid. International Rivers
[click to view]

[3] China Three Gorges Corp to build dam in Shan State: deputy minister. The Nation. September 17, 2014
[click to view]

[5] Implications on Women’s Lives and Livelihoods: A Case Study of Villages to Be Affected by the Mongton Dam Project in Shan State. Hnin Wut Yee, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, November 2016
[click to view]

[6] Statement by Salween community on Mong Ton (Tasang dam) hydropower project and other Salween hydropower projects. March 10, 2015
[click to view]

[8] Dam Projects Risk Reigniting Burma's Civil War, The Irrawaddy online, December 11, 2014
[click to view]


[2] The Salween Under Threat Damming the Longest Free River in Southeast Asia. Salween Watch, Southeast Asia Rivers Network (SEARIN), and the Center for Social Development Studies, Chulalongkorn University. October 2004.
[click to view]

[7] Hydropower in Myanmar: Moving Electricity Contracts from Colonial to Commercial, David Dapice, Harvard ASH Center, December 2015,
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Shan-Karen villagers oppose Mong Ton dam ประชาสังคมรัฐฉาน-รัฐกะเหรี่ยงค้านเขื่อนสาละวิน
[click to view]

Drowning A Thousand Islands (Burmese version). Documentary by Action for Shan State Rivers (On 28 Sept 2016)
[click to view]

Other documents

Proposed area for the Mong Ton Dam Source:
[click to view]

Villagers protest against Mong Ton dam Source:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Laura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update02/05/2018
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