The Laos government has suspended its ambitious hydropower project, following last month’s dam collapse which killed at least 39 people.
The government has now suspended approval of any new dams and is carrying out a structural review of all dams currently under construction or recently constructed.
Laos has 46 operating hydroelectric power plants, with 54 more planned or under construction.
Ninety people are still missing, and around 6,000 people have been displaced after an auxiliary dam collapsed in the southern province of Attapeu during heavy storms.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has “applauded” the government’s decision.
“The Mekong River Commission has welcomed the highly applauded and progressive decision … that the country will review all existing and under-construction dams and suspend the consideration of all new hydropower investments considering the Xepian Xenamnoy dam break,” the MRC said.
SK Engineering, one of the joint venture partners on the £780M Xe-Pian Xe Namnoy project, said it warned the government and began evacuating villages in the south-eastern province of Attapeu 24 hours before the dam collapsed.
The project was expected to generate 1,879Gwh per year, with 90% of the power exported to Thailand.