Monday, May 5, 2014

Toyo Thai explains proposed Coal plant to locals in Mon State

Min Thu Tha – Aun-den village, Mon State Last month officials from Toyo Thai, a firm that is planning to build a 1280 mega watt coal-fired power plant in Mon State’s Ye Township, held an information session with more than 100 local people to discuss the controversial project.

mapThe conference which took place on April 25th at a monastery in Aun-den, the village where the project will be built, was attended by Nai Lawi Aung (aka Nai Myint Swe) the Mon state minister for electricity and the Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) representative from Ye Township Mi Myint Myint Than according to Mi Seik Sorn, a member of Environment Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), who also attended the conference.

“They showed the place where it will be built and its structure. And they said that the power will be sold to the Ministry of Electricity. But we do not know where the power will go,” said Mi Seik Sorn. The plant is being built in conjunction with a special economic zone and adjacent deep seat port located in Dawei, some 100 miles away.

The plant will be built on 500 acres of farmland. The current price of the farmland is 3 million kyats per acre according to locals.

“Minister Nai Myint Swe and representative Mi Myint Myint Than said that it is necessary for locals to let the power station be constructed as it is for village development” Mi Seik Sorn told the Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA).

According to the power-plant’s project summary report the plant will use thousands of tons coal per month. Project construction is expected to employ somewhere between 6000 – 10,000 workers per day. The plant is also expected to need 250 workers per day to operate.
Nai Virawat, a Thai environmentalist, told the Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) that the plant will produce carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other toxic pollutants into the air. “Ash waste will be dumped into the sea, it’s all dangerous,” he said.

Nai Virawat said that a similar plant coal fired plant in neighboring Thailand at Map Ta Phut in Rayong district more than 10 year ago has caused serious health problems among local residents. The population around Ma Ta Phut has endured an increase in lung problems, cancer, skin-problems since the plant began, Nai Virawat said.

Officials from Toyo Thai claim that the plant will be built to comply with World Bank and Japanese government environmental standards. The required coal will be transported from Australia, South Africa and Indonesia according to the project report.