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Burma Myanmar: Ambassador Li Junhua’s Press Conference Yangoon on (2012-12-08)

December 10, 2012

Ambassador Li Junhua from the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar held a press conference on the progress of the Lapaduang Project with internal and external media this past Friday. Held between the hours of 9:30 A.M. and 11:30A.M., the December 7th conference was conducted at the Chinese Embassy in Yangon.

Anxieties surrounding the project were addressed, as Ambassador Li Junhua assured the press that concerns pertaining to the Lapadaung project would be investigated by a commission led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He declared, the project would continue only if the investigation’s results were accurate and attested to the viability of the project.

The construction of the copper mine in the Lapadaung Mountains of Myanmar’s upper regions, is  a joint venture between China’s Wan Bao Company and military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL). Profits from the mining project will be distributed in accordance with the acquired product revenue.  The government of Myanmar is expected to gain the largest share of the profit and will benefit from 16.8 percent of the total proceeds. The U Paing Company and Wanbao Company will also be beneficiaries of the project, respectively claiming 13.8 and 13.3 percent of total profits. As remarked by Ambassador Li Junhua during the December 7th press conference, the only current investor for the project is the Chinese owned and operated Wanbao Company.

“I feel a great deal of sorrow to hear that the Chinese are no longer in Myanmar. If the people don’t want the Chinese to stay in Myanmar, I am out of a job – I am employed,” he stated.

Mr. Li maintained issues related to relocation, compensation, environmental protection, and profit sharing regarding the mine project, were jointly settled through negotiations by the two sides and solutions were devised in accordance to Myanmar’s laws and regulations.

“We paid 550,000 Kyats for one acre of land, as the local people requested. There is about a total of 6,000 acres for the project that we have paid compensation of nearly US $ 5 million,” he remarked.

He proceeded to comment on the perceived lack of understanding of the area’s local people stating that “…because the Myanmar people in Lapadaung are weak in knowledge about the project, they might be misunderstanding the plan; this is what is prompting concern.”
The Ambassador continued by insisting the Chinese government used appropriate legal protocol to permit the Wanbao Company to conduct the project in Myanmar and expressed remorse over the distrust of the Myanmar people.

“If the local people have a legitimate demand, they can submit it the right way. If the project will stop, there are no advantages for the invested companies for the future.” The Ambassador promised cooperative effort between China and the Myanmar investigation committee to address matters related to the mining project.

A Burmese government-appointed committee, which will be supervised by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, will soon be formed to investigate the issues surrounding the copper mine project as well as the violence provoked by protests against the project. SOURCE    phophtaw.org

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