Dec. 04, 2023
Three Rivers Area: 25 Cascade Hydropower Stations to be Built



Qamdo possesses abundant hydro and mineral resources. At the Fifth Forum on Work in Tibet, the central government announced that further efforts will be devoted towards turning Qamdo into a base for energy substitutes and non-ferrous metals. Qamdo’s hydropower resource reserves are estimated to be 40,460 megawatts of which nearly 280 megawatts will be utilized by the end of the 11th Five-year Plan.

Wujin Pingcuo, a deputy to the People’s Congress of the autonomous region and deputy secretary of the Qamdo Administrative Office, said that 25 cascade power stations will be built in accordance with the preliminary plan to develop hydro resources in Three Rivers area. At present, initial exploration of seven potential sites has been completed, and three cascade power stations in Yebatan, Lawa, and Suwalong are in the pre-feasibility study phase. The ultimate goal of the project is to exploit eastern Tibet’s non-ferrous metals and also establish a national production base for energy substitutes for the “west-to-east electricity transmission program” by the end of 13th Five-year Plan

Hydro Resources Development Finishes Initial Exploration for Seven Cascade Hydropower Stations

Hydropower resources reserves in Qamdo are estimated to be 40,460 megawatts, of which 280 megawatts will be put into use by the end of the 11th Five-year Plan period.
"The Guoduo hydropower station is a key hydropower project for the development of Tibet and was approved by the State Council in the 11th Five-year Plan period. As the second cascade hydropower station built on Zhaqu stretch of the upper reaches of the Langcang River, the facility’s installed capacity is 165 megawatts with a static total investment of 2.6 billion. It is currently the largest hydropower station built in Qamdo,” said Wujin. According to the preliminary hydro resource development plan, 25 cascade hydropower stations will be constructed, many of which have larger planned investment and installed capacity than the Guoduo Hydropower Station.
At present, initial work on the development of hydro resources in the Three Rivers area has preceded smoothly. For instance, planning for the Zangchuan segment in the upper reach of Jinsha River as well as the environmental assessment have been completed. The initial exploration phase for seven cascade hydropower stations is finished, with three cascade power stations in Yebatan, Lawa, and Suwalong in the pre-feasibility study phase. The hydropower development plan for the Tibet stretch of the upper reaches of the Lancang River is ready for review, and pre-feasibility studies for three cascade hydropower stations in Gushui, Rumei, and Cege have already been initiated. The hydropower development plan and environmental assessment report for the Tibetan stretch of the Nu River will be finished this year and the pre-feasibility study for the cascade projects in Emi and the Nu river bridge have already begun.
Wujin also said at the Fifth Forum on Work in Tibet that the central government is planning additional efforts towards developing Qamdo into a production base for energy substitutes and non-ferrous metals. Baye Power Station Beach, Lawa Power Station and Suwalong Power Station on the Jinsha River, Rumei Power Station and Gushui Power Station on the Lancang River, as well as Guoduo Power Station on the Zhaqu River are all included in the in the 12th Five-year Plan’s national plan for energy development. This provides a high level of political support for accelerated hydro resource development in the Three Rivers area. 
Several key power stations will be built in the Jinsha, Lancang, and Nu Rivers during the period covered by the 12th Five-year Plan, with an overall installed capacity of more than 5,000 megawatts as the eventual goal. Moreover, additional objectives include enhancement of the operational capacity to more than 5,000 megawatts and a planned installed capacity of more than 10,000 megawatts by the end of 13th Five-year Plan. The goal of this project is to create an energy production base for the West-to-East Electricity Transmission Program. Further efforts will be made to expand   electricity transmission capacity to more than 2,000 megawatts by 2020, 5,000-10,000 megawatts by 2025, and 18,000 megawatts with an overall installed capacity of 10,000 megawatts by 2030. Additionally, the main power transmission grid within Qamdo will be periodically upgraded and the Tibet-China transmission grid will be similarly improved. Achievement of these goals will enhance hydropower’s importance as a key industry in Qamdo.

Non-Ferrous Mineral Resources Development to Become a Key Industry in Eastern Tibet

Qamdo possesses a wide variety of mineral resources; gold, silver, and iron are the most important exploitable resources with nearly a hundred categories. The main lodes, or undeveloped metal deposits, that have been discovered are of 6 categories with 52 types and altogether 714 mines.Identified copper reserves are estimated at 10.34 million tons, and lead and zinc reserves are approximately 4 million tons.
According to Wujin Pingcuo, the Yulong copper mine currently under development has identified reserves of more than 6.5 million tons and expected reserves of more than 10 million tons. This single copper mine is the largest in China and the second largest in Asia. Exploitation of this resource could ease supply pressures on the domestic copper market and promote Qamdo’s economic and social development.

“Integrated planning and development of Qamdo’s mineral resources will occur under the timeframe allotted by the 12th Five-year Plan. Particular attention will be paid to the comprehensive development of the Yulong copper mine and the Kamaduoling magnesium and coal reserves. The goal is that by the end of the plan’s timeframe a mine with annual copper, magnesia, and coal production of over 0.1 million respectively and annual iron ore sales of 1 million tons will be complete. By the end of the 13th Five-year Plan period, a non-ferrous metal industry in eastern Qamdo will be roughly established,” said Wujin Pingcuo. At the same time, supporting facilities, high-speed transportation systems and energy technology facilities will be similarly improved.


Translator: BAO Lan

Proofreader: Brendan Ebner