The strategic environmental assessment (STA) has been launched for the second phase of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will cover an area of about 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres), according to SEZ’s management committee.
Japan-based Environmental Resource Management Company, in collaboration with Myanmar’s E-Guard Environmental Services, are jointly conducting the assessment.
The Thilawa SEZ, located 25 miles south of Yangon, will cover a total of 2,342 hectares where project developments on 396 hectares (851 acres) for the first phase (Class A) has already started.
In the original plan for the second phase of the project the 2,000-hectare area was planned to be allocated into 1,058 hectares for industrial area, 70 hectares for commercial area and 552 hectares for public use.
However, to avoid damaging mangrove forests, universities and residential quarters, the alternative plan has proposed to change the use of land into 986 hectares for the industries, 131 hectares into residential quarters, 15 hectares for commercial activities and 687 hectares for public use.
“Only after the assessments on companies have finished can the environmental survey be conducted. But it’s hard to predict how long that assessment will take as the details cannot be rushed,” said Dr Than Than Thwel, joint secretary of the Thilawa SEZ management committee.
Construction of the Thilawa SEZ was launched on November 30 last year, with the initial 851 acres going on sale in May of this year.
Most of the investments in the development of the SEZ have come from Japan and Taiwan, with additional ASEAN countries also investing in the project.
The zone will include factories for textiles, manufacturing, hightech and labour intensive industries.
A total of ¥20 billion ($195 million) of the ¥51 billion loan from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency has been allocated for the development of the Thilawa SEZ, with an additional ¥14 billion allocated for upgrading Yangon’s electricity distribution and generation network.
Two Myanmar and two Japanese companies established a joint venture under the name of Myanmar-Japan Thilawa Development Co Ltd in Tokyo on October 29 last year to operate the SEZ project.