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Three Rivers Gorge*
Three Gorges dam makes smooth headway
The Three Gorges project had completed one-third of its total projected investment by the end of last month, laying a solid foundation for the operation of some of its generators by 2003 as scheduled.
According to a statement by the China Yangtze Three Gorges Project Development Corp, the world's largest hydropower project has absorbed a total investment of 60.9 billion yuan (US$7.4 billion) since 1993, including 25.9 billion yuan (US$3.1 billion) used in the replacement of local residents out of the dam area.
Earlier in February, Guo Tao, vice-general manager of the company, said no more than 180 billion yuan (US$21.8 billion) would be poured into the project, so long as the national policy and economy remained stable.
According to the statement, 13.2 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) will be invested in the project this year, the largest annual investment seen in the past seven years.
The statement said 997,600 cubic metres of cement had been poured over the past three months for the foundations of the gigantic plant. This year, about 4.1 million cubic metres of cement will be poured.
The laying of cement is essential for the second phase of construction on the project - the building of a dam and a hydropower plant on the bank of the Yangtze River by 2003.
By 2003, a huge reservoir, shiplift and three or four generators will have been put into operation. Electricity generated by the plant is to be sold to fund the final phases of construction for the project.
A total of 26 generators, with a combined installed capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts and a generating capacity of 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours a year, will have been installed upon completion of the project in 2009.
The statement said no accidents had occurred over the past three months.
Guaranteeing the quality of the project and the security of workers will be a focus in the future, the statement said.
Sources said the relocation of residents from the dam area, which covers more than 1,000 square kilometres, is going well.
Since 1993, more than 300,000 local residents have been moved out of the dam area. This year, another 53,000 residents are expected to be resettled.
By 2009, a total of 1.3 million people from the dam area will have been replaced to 11 provinces and municipalities, including Sichuan and Guangdong provinces and Shanghai.
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