Location of Xaisomboun Province in Laos
|Established||13 December 2013|
|o Total||8,300 km2 (3,200 sq mi)|
|o Density||10/km2 (27/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||LA-XS|
Xaisomboun (/sa?mbu:n/ Lao ) is a mountainous province located in Central Laos, between Vientiane Province and Xiangkhouang Province. The province covers an area of 8,300 square kilometres (3,200 sq mi) and had a population of 85,168 in 2015. Xaysomboun town in Anouvong District is the economic centre, and there are extensive copper and gold mining operations nearby at Sana Somboun.
Xaisomboun is the 18th province of Laos. It was designated special administrative zone between June 1994 and 2006, with the military controlling the area to suppress Hmong resistance and to exploit the timber industry. Many Hmong locals fled Laos during this period, taking refuge in Phetchabun, Thailand.
Xaisomboun was formally established as a province on 13 December 2013. Since, the development of the hydroelectric power along the Nam Ngum River has led to around 300 families being relocated to Feuang District in Vientiane province, who weren't compensated for the loss of their farmland.
The province has long been a hotbed for conflict between the government and the Hmong peoples. In November 2015, unrest broke out in the province, killing three soldiers and three civilians. The Laotian government imposed a curfew in the northern-central part of the province in early December, but in January 2016 a bomb was set off at a road construction site near Pha Nok Nok village in Long Cheang District, killing two Chinese officials and injuring another. As a result, on February 16 2016, Major General Thongloy Silivong, a military officer who is the former chief of the National Defense Academy, was appointed the governor of Xaisomboun to tighten control. On June 16, 2017, another Chinese official was shot dead in the province.
The province is very mountainous, and to the northeast of the town of Xaysomboun is Phou Bia mountain in Xiangkhouang Province, the highest point in Laos. The principal river, the Nam Ngum, has been subject to a hydroelectric scheme with the creation of a dam and large reservoir and an underground power plant. In March 2014 it was announced that the Chinese company Norinco International Cooperation, Ltd had invested US$218 million in the development, projected to take 42 months.
Phou Khao Khouay National Biodiversity Conservation Area is a protected area located 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of Vientiane. It was established on 29 October 1993 covering an area of 2,000 km2 extending into neighboring provinces. It has a large stretch of mountain range with sandstone cliffs, river gorges and three large rivers with tributaries which flow into the Mekong River.
There are 96 villages. Districts are:
The economic centre of the province lies in Xaysomboun, Anouvong District. There are copper and gold mining operations nearby at Sana Somboun, with companies such as Phu Bia Mining Limited operating.Phu Kam and Ban Houayxai Gold-Silver are notable mines in the area, with Phu Kham mine producing 83,680 tonnes of copper concentrate and 70,787 oz of gold and Ban Houayxai Gold-Silver produciing 108,570 oz of gold and 666,628 oz of silver in 2018 respectively. The Phu Bia Mining Company began operations in 2006 and as of June 2019 had given nearly 6,248 trillion kip (US$716 million) in cumulative contributions to the government, generating over 3200 jobs for mainly Hmong locals and improving education in the province. Phu Bia has permission to mine until at least 2021.
Media related to Xaisomboun Province at Wikimedia Commons