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November 24, 2008

Laos’ railway network project awaits investors
The government of Laos is now searching for investors willing to fund the national railway project to support the growing mining sector and heavy goods delivery, the Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported.

The railway is planned to stretch 2,500 km, with the total investment of more than 13 billion U.S. dollars, said the Planning and Cooperation Department Deputy Director General Phetsamone Viraphanth.

The project calls for the laying of tracks from China's border city to Vientiane, and from Vientiane to the provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet and Champassak. The proposed network will also be linked to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, according to the government's plan.

"This step is necessary because industrial development projects, especially mining industry-related projects such as the mining of iron, copper, aluminum and gold ores, are booming and require improved infrastructure for goods and equipment delivery," said Phetsamone.

The present proposal is an elevated track 51 km in length, with six stations at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, Morning Market, Wattay International Airport, Thongpong, the National University of Laos and the new National Stadium, said Phetsamone.

The Lao government has already given permission to the governments of China and Vietnam to conduct studies and design the main lines, the backbone of the project. Branch lines will link to provinces and mining sites, said Phetsamone.

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