border review | 24 November 2012

China-Laos railway

The International Railway Journal (IRJ) reports that China and Laos are in the process of finalising an agreement on a USD 7 billion loan to build a rail link between Xishuangbanna and Vientiane. A Chinese contractor will be selected soon.

According to IRJ, the purpose of this project is simple:

The railway will give China greater access to Laos’ mineral resources, and around 5 million tonnes of freight, mainly potash, is expected to cross the border each year by 2020.

Potash, mineral salts containing potassium, are mainly used for the production of fertilizers. A logical next step in what Anna Tsing would call the creation of a resource frontier.