Company must be responsible for dam collapse: Laos minister

An official of the company which operates the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam in Attapeu province of Laos was quoted saying today that the firm would take full responsibility for the damage caused by its collapse that triggered a massive flooding in vast areas early this week.

Vientiane Times said Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Khammany Inthirath had earlier insisted that Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company cannot deny its responsibility for the floods, which caused massive destruction to the livelihoods and property of the people in Sanamxay district.

“Regarding the compensation matter, I would like to reassure based on the concession agreement, all incidents are related to the dam construction, must be borne by the project developer 100 percent,” he told a press conference in Vientiane.

Vientiane Times said the company so far has not made any public and official statements over the incident.

The Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power is a joint investment venture whose major shareholders include two South Korean firms, SK Engineering and Construction of the Korea and Korea Western Power, a Thai company, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, and Lao Holding State Enterprise of Laos.

A senior official from the company was quoted by Vientiane Times as saying that the firm was ready to handle the incident following the concession agreement and related laws, adding that the company would not be attempting to deny its responsibility for the flood and its consequences.

“We will take responsibility for the incident in accordance with laws. Of course, this is undeniable. However, I am not able to provide the detail of the compensation,” the company official said, adding that the company had confirmed this position to the top government leaders at central and provincial levels. The official was not identified by name.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines’ Energy Department Director General, Mr Xayphaseuth Phomsoupha said that it was too soon to outline the details of a compensation package, adding that the thorough review of the dam failure’s cause and damages under the concession agreement would have to be made first.

“There is a lot of detail in the concession agreement, so we have to review it before we can say precisely how much responsibility the company should take,” he told Vientiane Times by telephone from Tasmania, Australia.

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