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Groundbreaking ceremony held today for controversial Xayaburi Dam in Laos

Plans to construct the first ever dam on the lower section of the Mekong River in Laos are pressing forward despite criticism from many scientists over potentially devastating affects on the existing ecosystems. The New York Times yesterday quoted Deputy Director General of the Laotian Department of Electricity Daovong Phonekeo as saying: “I would say I’m 100 percent sure it’s going ahead.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for the scheme is planned to be held today in Xayaburi for the $3.5bn hydropowered dam which will supply electricity to Thailand, bringing in billions of dollars to the Laos economy. Scientists and environmentalists have spoken out about the potential effect the dam could have, including disrupted spawning patterns which could lead to the extinction of various species of river-dwelling fish.

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