Burma: Latpantaungtaung-Controversial Myanmar mining project underway

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Kyeysintaung copper-mine project site seen in October. (Photo-Wai Yan Phyo Oo/EMG)

The environmental impact assessments and environmental management plans of a controversial mining project in Myanmar will be completed by March next year, a report released on October 23 said.

About US$1.12 million will be spent each year to manage the environmental damage caused by the Monywa copper mine, a joint-venture by the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL) and China’s Myammar-Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd.

Villagers have been protesting against the project as it will cause environmental destruction and forced relocation.

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Latpantaungtaung copper-mine project site. (Photo-Wai Yan Phyo Oo/EMG)

The UMEHL said extractive companies are responsible for any harmful effects on the environment, adding there were no guarantees that mining would not have negative impact in surrounding areas.

“For example, trees and mountains will be removed. So, we can’t leave them as they are after the project. We need to grow trees and fill up the mines,” it said.

The copper mining project will start in 2013. Land preparations are now underway.  Reports said residents were paid 520,000 kyats (US$610) per acre for 4,800 acres.

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