05/16/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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The highest dam in China "will harm nature. But we will build it all the same "

So says the central government, who approved the project to meet the "thirst" for energy in the country. The infrastructure will be 314 meters high and will be built on the Dadu River in Sichuan. Authorities: "We know that it will affect local flora and fauna, we will take counter-measures."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese Ministry of Environment has approved the project for the construction of the highest hydro-electric dam in the country, although it has at the same time recognized that this decision "will harm the local ecosystem." The dam will be 314 meters high (compared with 185 m of the Three Gorges) and will be built on the Dadu River, in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The project is called Shuangjiangkou.

Announcing the decision, the ministry added that the environmental impact surveys show that the dam will damage both the flora and fauna and even put the natural reserves of the area at risk. But it stressed that "counter-measures" will be taken to mitigate the effects.

The company that holds the contract is called the Guodian Group and is state-owned: according to forecasts it should complete construction in 10 years, for a total cost of about 24.7 billion Yuan (about 2.7 billion euro ). The company has been in the sights of the central government because, in 2011, it began the construction of 21 projects that had not yet been approved by the competent bodies.

The practice is quite common in China and demonstrates the close relationship between the industry - public and private - to central and local political psheres. Even the Huadian Group, the largest operator in the energy field in the country, began construction of the hydrological plant in Hangdeng without waiting for permission from the government.

The "thirst" for energy continues to devour the country, which depends on every energy source available to keep industrial production - and thus the gross domestic product - at the growth rates of recent years, thus above 7 percentage points. China has no natural oil but imports it from anyone willing to sell; for the remaining energy supplies the government focus is still on coal mines and dams.

 

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