Aung Thaung's family firm involved in Kachin dam deal


aung-thaungA firm owned by the sons of Burma's former Industry Minister and current member of parliament Aung Thaung signed a deal in 2010 to construct hydro power projects on the Nawchankha River in Kachin state. The deal signed between YPIC International Energy Cooperation & Development Ltd., based in Yunnan International Group of Entrepreneur (IGE) was recently reported by the Rangoon based Eleven Media.

The Eleven media article did not name the owners of IGE, however it is well known that the firm is controlled by Aung Thaun's sons Pyi Aung (also spelled Pye Aung) and Nay Aung . The brothers’ business empire also includes UNOG Pte Ltd, (UNOG Co Ltd and United National Oil & Gas), a company involved in oil, gas and mining. Leaked US diplomatic cables detail the sons extensive businessman empire which grew while their father was Industry Minister (see here

According to Eleven Media the initial agreement for the dam which was approved by the government's Hydropower Administration Department and concerned the building of five separate dams on the river. Plans for one of the dams was later scrapped Eleven Media reported. The current plan calls for building dams at Laungdin (600 megawatt), Gaw Lan (120 megawatt), Htonshin Chaung (340 megawatt) and Kankan (140 megawatt).

Eleven Media noted little was known about the deal up until now because “the public has been kept in the dark about these projects as the agreement was signed during the previous military government which made numerous secret agreements with China.”

Under the agreement YPIC International will own an 83% stake in the project with a Burmese government owned entity owning 15 %. IGE will hold a 2% share, which though small will still provide a lucrative windfall for the firm over the dams decades long expected lifetime of operation.