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NEWS UPDATES 29 July 2010

Philippines dam proposal

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Abacus Consolidated Resources & Holdings Inc. has offered to pursue the Laiban Dam Project to secure Metro Manila’s water and power supply.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Abacus said that it has filed an unsolicited proposal for a joint venture agreement with state-run Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the construction of the said dam. Abacus proposed to put up the dam at an estimated cost of P60 billion, which could be completed over a 60-month period if approved by the MWSS.

The project is a 1,900 million liter a day bulk water facility that primarily aims to augment Metro Manila’s supply.

Metro Manila’s drinking water demand is placed roughly at 4,000 million liters a day, 97 percent of which comes from the 40-year-old Angat dam. By 2015, demand is projected to increase by another 1,600 million liters a day.

Aside from providing additional water, Abacus proposed to put up a 30-megawatt hydroelectric power plant on the same site to alleviate the electricity supply of the Luzon grid, which is expected to face a deficit of 3,000 megawatts by 2013.

The company has tapped Sinohydro Corp. Ltd. of China as its technical partner for the power plant component of the project.

Sinohydro is engaged in water conservation, hydropower industries, civil infrastructure, mechanical and electrical plant manufacturing and installation.

Abacus’s proposal is similar to an earlier plan brought forward by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) before the MWSS. The food and beverage giant’s proposal, however, was placed on the back burner after public outcry over the project’s impact on water rates.

Critics claimed that SMC’s proposal contained a take-or-pay provision that would result in consumers paying for water even if they do no need it yet.

Macra Cruz, MWSS officer in charge, earlier said that SMC had written the agency on the possibility of reviving its proposal.

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