China Harbour begins work on 150ha artificial island in the Maldives

China Harbour
Maldives’ Housing Development Corporation’s image of work underway on Thilafushi 2

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has begun an ambitious land reclamation project in the Maldives.

According to The Edition, a local newspaper, CHEC has started work on the boundary wall for the reclamation process.

The project will be an extension of Thilafushi, another artificial island created in the early 1990s to the west of the capital, Malé. This now covers a little more than 43ha and hosts a number of industries, including cement making, boat manufacture, warehousing and methane bottling.  

Thilafushi Phase 2, as the scheme is known, will be a “sustainable industrial hub”, and the new home for industries presently located in Malé City.

CHEC, a subsidiary of China Communications, was awarded the project on 15 December by the islands’ Housing Development Corporation (HDC). CHEC was previously responsible for building and maintaining the Sinamalé’ Bridge that connects Malé City with Hulhumalé, its north-eastern neighbour.

The project will reclaim 40ha of land in the first phase, which is due to be finished in eight months. HDC expects the complete reclamation of 150ha to take two years.

While the island is being created, India’s Afcons Infrastructure will build the $500m Thilamalé Bridge between Thilafushi and Malé City.

Thilafushi was created from sand and, controversially, from the islands’ garbage.

It continued to be the main destination site for the Maldives’ waste after its creation. This has led to some 300 tonnes of rubbish being tipped on the island every day, including a small amount of lead and asbestos, leading to a growth in its area of around 1 sq m a day

In 2008, it led Bluepeace, the main ecological movement of the Maldives, to describe Thilafushi as a “toxic bomb”.

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