The president of Tajikistan has inaugurated the start of construction at what will be the tallest dam in the world, located at Rogun in the Central Asian country.
Attended by president Emomali Rahmon, the event commemorated work beginning at the project, which will see Italian company Salini Impregilo Group construct the 335m-tall dam.
Preparation for construction included diverting the flow of the Vakhsh River - performed personally by the president at the inauguration - towards tunnels in an adjacent mountain, thereby helping to dry the area when the dam's foundations will be situated.
The $3.9bn project will double the country's production capacity, with President Rahmon explaining that the dam represents the country's efforts to shift towards a green economy based on renewable energy resources, and will eliminate hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Salini Impregilo, the EPC contractor of the project, expects that one of the turbines at the dam will be producing electricity by the end of 2018. Phase I is due to be completed by April 2019, when two turbines will be operational.
The project is then expected to be finished seven and a half years after that, when more than 60M cb m of rock and other material will have been moved.