Dam construction for the 180MW facility should take up to four years and begin in early 2006, a hydro power director from Cambodia’s Industry Ministry told the Associated Press.

Sino Hydro won the contract by outbidding China Guodian Corporation, the only other company to submit a bidding proposal out of the five foreign companies – three from China, one from Japan and one from Canada – that were shortlisted.

The company will be authorised to operate the plant for 30 years, with an option to renew when the contract expires.

The project marks progress for hydroelectric development Cambodia, which generates its electricity largely from fossil fuels.