Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

Mong Ton (or Tasang) Dam, Myanmar


Description:

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. 

The Tasang project has been on the government's agenda for a long time. 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 [2]. In the late 90s, the government tried to push the project and started a forced relocation campaign that has affected between 200,000 and 300,000 local villagers. However, the construction stalled due to civil unrest in the area. In 2009, the contract with MDX Group was canceled because the construction was not going fast enough and a new contract was signed with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), a Thai state enterprise. The China Three Gorges Corporation, the China Southern Power Grid and Sinohydro Corporation are also involved in the project, according to news reports [3] and activist groups [4]. The total cost of the project remains unclear and figures range from USD6 billion to USD14,5 billion. 

According to several environmental groups, the dam and its reservoir will cause major environmental and social impacts. Logging concessions have already been granted for the areas that will be inundated by the reservoir. Some villagers still live in the areas that will be covered by the reservoir and will likely face relocation if the project is completed. Women will also be more impacted “due to their vulnerable socio-economic conditions at their household and community level”, says a paper [5]. Activists have also raised concerns about irregularities in the environmental impact assessment consultation process [6]. 

Some groups have also challenged the official version about the benefits that Myanmar will get from the project because most of the energy produced will be exported to Thailand. The money will also go mainly to the companies. Thus, according to the contract signed for the project, revenues will be split between the companies and the Myanmar government on a 90/10 scheme, companies getting 90% of the revenues while giving 10% (often in the form of electricity) to Myanmar. According to a research [7], under this revenue sharing contract, the Mong Ton project will generate about US207 million a year to the Myanmar government. Nevertheless, other similar projects “pay 3-4 times more than the “90/10” contract”.

With several rebel groups active in the area, groups also fear that the construction of the dam will reignite the conflict in the region [8].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Mong Ton (or Tasang) Dam, Myanmar
Country:Myanmar
State or province:Shan State
(municipality or city/town)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
Water

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Projected capacity: 7000MW

Annual production: 35,446 GWh

Dam height: 241 metres

Dam lenght: 606 metres

Reservoir area: 870 km2 (340 sq mi)

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 (https://www.internationalrivers.org/), Burma Campaign UK (http://burmacampaign.org.uk/), Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (http://www.kesan.asia/), 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
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Karen indigenous group
translation missing: en.m.mobilizing_groups.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.

Outcome

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).
http://www.terraper.org/web/sites/default/files/key-issues-content/mongton_en_july2016_0.pdf

[4] China Southern Power Grid. International Rivers
https://www.internationalrivers.org/campaigns/china-southern-power-grid

[3] China Three Gorges Corp to build dam in Shan State: deputy minister. The Nation. September 17, 2014
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/aec/China-Three-Gorges-Corp-to-build-dam-in-Shan-State-30243623.html

[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
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/575fb39762cd94c2d69dc556/t/5932ed9f197aea49bc279a87/1496509860163/No.14_P308_339_Hnin+Wut+Yee.pdf

[6] Statement by Salween community on Mong Ton (Tasang dam) hydropower project and other Salween hydropower projects. March 10, 2015
http://kesan.asia/index.php/programs/water-governance/17-statement-by-salween-community-on-salween-dam-projects

[8] Dam Projects Risk Reigniting Burma's Civil War, The Irrawaddy online, December 11, 2014
https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/dam-projects-risk-reigniting-burmas-civil-war.html

content/mongton_en_july2016_0.pdf



[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.
http://www.livingriversiam.org/4river-tran/4sw/swd_book_en

[7] Hydropower in Myanmar: Moving Electricity Contracts from Colonial to Commercial, David Dapice, Harvard ASH Center, December 2015,
https://ash.harvard.edu/files/ash/files/hydropower_in_myanmar_-moving_from_colonial_to_commercial_dec_16_2015.pdf?m=1450363888

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Shan-Karen villagers oppose Mong Ton dam ประชาสังคมรัฐฉาน-รัฐกะเหรี่ยงค้านเขื่อนสาละวิน
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X6azC3vSi0

Drowning A Thousand Islands (Burmese version). Documentary by Action for Shan State Rivers (On 28 Sept 2016)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH0m6uT0Do0

Other documents

Proposed area for the Mong Ton Dam Source: http://www.terraper.org/web/sites/default/files/key-issues-content/mongton_en_july2016_0.pdf
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Mongton2.png

Villagers protest against Mong Ton dam Source: http://www.shanhumanrights.org/index.php/news-updates/209-mong-ton-villagers-protest-against-salween-dam-at-consultation-meeting
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/mongton1.jpg

Meta information

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

Images

 

Villagers protest against Mong Ton dam

Source: http://www.shanhumanrights.org/index.php/news-updates/209-mong-ton-villagers-protest-against-salween-dam-at-consultation-meeting

Proposed area for the Mong Ton Dam

Source: http://www.terraper.org/web/sites/default/files/key-issues-content/mongton_en_july2016_0.pdf