The Vietnamese company, which is 49.8% owned by Cavico Corp, said it is currently transporting tunnelling equipment to the site for excavation to begin in April.

The 2768m long, 4.8m wide headrace tunnel is scheduled to be completed in August 2008. Cavico’s contract also involves construction of a 57.2m surge tank, and a 97.3m long inclined tunnel.

In a statement, Hau Thanh Binh, the chief executive of Cavoco Mining, said: ‘With our experience gained from past projects and our engineering expertise, I believe we will complete this project within the agreed upon timeline and quickly move on to other projects as planned.’

Other parts of the Cavico group have been active in hydro project construction in recent months. Cavico Hydropower, a wholly owned subsidiary, has just started tunnelling work on the 180MW Dong Nai 3 scheme; late stage excavation is underway at the 280MW Buon Kup project.

In addition, Cavico is due to start tunnelling soon on the 30MW Za Hung scheme, and it has completed excavation works on the 320MW Ban Ve project and concrete lining is underway.

Beyond traditional contracting, Cavico also has ambitions to be an owner-developer of hydro in the booming energy sector in Vietnam. In early March the company announced its application to build a US$265M scheme on the Dak My river, which it hoped will be the first plant in a cascade scheme.