Letpadaungtaung mining project to resume pending govt decision – Wanbao


Operations on the controversial Letpadaungtaung copper mine project are to resume pending the Myanmar government’s decision, according to Wanbao company officials.

“The construction, environment and social management survey for the mining project is finished and it is ready to submit to the government,” said Deputy General Manager for Myanmar Wanbao.

“The government decision is required to resume the project,” he added.

The Letpadaungtaung copper mine project is run by the Chinese company, Wanbao Mining Ltd. together with the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Limited (UMEHL) and Myanmar’s Ministry of Mines.

Protests against the project’s environmental and social impact in November 2012 were heavily repressed leading to dozens of arrests. The authorities were blamed for using excessive force.

The project was put on hold after a report was released by the Letpadaungtaung Special Investigation Commission, led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The report called for the project to be halted until land compensation disputes were settled. Local residents have also insisted not to move a Pagoda and other religious sites in the project area.

Some villages that are included in the project area have refused to move since the report came out and are still protesting against the project. Villagers from these communities have not asked for compensation for their land, which is now included in a revised agreement between the government and Wanbao Mining Ltd.

Officials from Wanbao have said the deadline for compensation is September 30 and insisted they would not compensate villagers after the deadline. The villagers who have agreed to compensation amount to about half of the entire village, which comprises of more than 6,000 acres in the project area.

“It is nonsense that they refuse to give compensation if we didn’t take it before September 30. When we move our belongings, we didn’t know about anything,” said a local who has to relocate all his house and belongings.

According to the revised agreement, Wanbao will use two percent of the profit in corporate social responsibility projects and keep US$2 million per year as an environmental preservation and protection fund during mining exploration.

Moreover the company will use environmental preservation techniques right from the start as well as make a monthly environmental and social impact assessment, according to deputy general manager.LADPADAUNG BUDDHIST TEMPLE

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