China in new Myanmar projects

China is to help Myanmar build a hydropower plant on the Irrawaddy River, adding to a number of joint hydropower projects in Myanmar, Reuters reported, citing officials in the capital, Yangon. The plant is intended to generate electricity for both domestic use and export. A huge gas pipeline to China also is planned.


Under a deal reached with a Chinese delegation last week, the latest hydropower project involves a plant in Myanmar’s northern Kachin state, at the confluence of the Malikha and Maykha rivers, on the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy. The plant will be situated about 30 kilometres north of Kachin’s capital, Myitkyina, and about 80 kilometres from the Chinese border.

Sources in the region have said that feasibility studies for the project were carried out last year around the confluence, raising concern about the possible relocation of nearby villages and the ecological impact.

To cope with growing energy demand, Myanmar has pushed ahead with dozens of hydropower projects across the country, mostly with the assistance of China, one of its few international allies. China said last week it had signed a contract with Myanmar to build cross-border oil and gas pipelines.

One project involves a gas and oil pipeline running more than 2,000 kilometres from Burma through Ruili and Kunming in Yunnan province to Chongqing municipality in south-western China, a senior Chinese energy official said. The link would strengthen China’s access to rich energy reserves in Myanmar, as well as help China avoid a long shipping detour through the Strait of Malacca.


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