On the 3rd of April 2017, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MONRE) leaded an inspection before acceptance of Namtha1 Hydropower Project Reservoir Biomass Removal, both Bokeo Division of Natural Resource and Environment (DONRE) and Luangnamtha DONRE had assigned personnel to join in the inspection. The Reservoir Biomass Removal Bokeo Section had received good evaluation and achieved a Certificate of Approval from MONRE.

Biomass Removal Inspection by MONRE


To avoid pollution to water and impact to environment, biomass removal is the essential work in medium – large hydropower project for the reservoir impoundment. Lao climate is a tropical monsoon climate, the vegetation is dense and evergreen, therefore Lao government has promulgated Hydropower Project Reservoir Biomass Removal Guidelines, with several strict requirements, which stipulates that before impoundment, hydropower station must pass acceptance inspection from relevant authority on pre-impoundment biomass removal.

In the deep forest along the Namtha River, biomass removal is not an easy task.

Biomass Removal, prepare with heart.

For the goal of constructing an environmental friendly hydropower station, the Company had paid high attention to the pre-impoundment biomass removal. In order to draft a detailed biomass removal plan and implementation method to submit to MONRE for approval, the Company had done researches on many constructed and under-construction hydropower station on their reservoir biomass removal, learned from their experiences and practices, before comprising the plan according to relevant regulations.

The pre-impoundment biomass removal involves two areas from two provinces, Bokeo and Luangnamtha. Both provincial authorities also regard the biomass removal work as a great important issue. The governors of both provinces had established Reservoir Biomass Removal Committee one after another, to coordinate and monitor the work, as well as assign team to conduct a survey along with the Company, mark economic plantation to prevent damage during the cutting and completely retain for nationalizing.

For private own vegetation, the Company collected information and compensated to the owners, informed them of the felling time, ensured people’s properties and interests; the Company also provided free cutting service for big vegetation that the owner might not be able to cut due to lacking of relevant equipment.

Chainsaw for Trees Felling

Biomass Removal, Tough Task.

The Company entrusted the hardworking and endurable field team to implement the demarcation work at the reservoir normal water level EL.455m. The length of the reservoir is about 90km, most of the area has no road, no electricity and no signal. They could only use boats to travel with solid food, sleep and eat in the open air, it was not able to imagine how hard the circumstance was. Moreover, they had to face with a life threatening danger that might lie anywhere in the deep forest – the land mine.

Measuring and Setting of Demarcation

Crude Mobile Camp

Equipment for UXO Detection

Minesweeper Hero, the Patron Saint of the Team

The Project locates in northern of Laos, people living at both side of river had hard and poor life, but they were hardworking and able to endure the hardship, they are especially good at life and production in the forest. Considering their ability, to let them make the most of what they are good at, the Company allowed the locals to fell small vegetation, bamboo, and shrubs with compensation that would increase their income. However, felling of big trees was carried out by professional personnel with chainsaw. The Company also allowed people to bring home the small plantation they cut to use as firewood. This action was greatly support by the locals, and driven them to be more active, thus greatly increase the productivity.

Up till now, Namtha1 Hydropower Project Reservoir Biomass Removal has completed temporary demarcation measurement and setting, UXO survey and disposal, economic vegetation survey and cutting. Forest and structure removal in Bokeo area was generally completed, Luangnamtha area has over 60% completion.

Vientiane Office: Saphanthong Villas, House #3, Unit15, Saphanthong Village, Sisattanak District, Vientiane Capital; Tel: (85621) 315 764; Fax: (85621) 316 498
Houayxai Office: House #297, Unit 08, Khonekeo Village, Houayxai District, Bokeo Province; Tel: (85684) 212 259
E-mail: Info@namtha1.com
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