Oct 15, 2012

Myanmar's Monywa copper project comply with national law: officials

The Monywa copper mine project in Myanmar's northwestern Sagaing region, is being carried out strictly and scientifically in accordance with Myanmar's law, international standard and religious procedure, responsible project officials of investing companies of Myanmar and China told a press conference here Monday.

The copper extraction project has been jointly undertaken by the Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd (ECL) and China's Wanbao Mining Ltd and Yang Tze Copper Ltd legally registered in Myanmar after a Canadian company, the Ivanhoe, pulled out two years ago.

The officials from both sides refuted the allegations of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) airing from outside Myanmar on Oct. 9 that the companies intentionally carried out mine explosion work at the worksite near a local Buddhist pagoda which was destroyed.

U Maung Maung Tin, Director of Project Planning Department of the Myanmar EHL denied the allegation, clarifying that the information was not true but was a fabricated one.

He added that the so-called destroyed Buddhist pagoda is still in existence and the mine explosion work was conducted about 500 meters away from the object without hurting it.

U Myint Aung, another responsible official of the project also said, in addition to the still existence of the old pagodas in the old places, new pagodas were also built in area where the local villagers were relocated to make way for the project.

Recently, a report was filed to the parliament's Mineral Resources Commission and the Human Rights Commission who visited the site successively. The report clarified that the copper mine project was implemented strictly in accordance with the standard of the international environmental demand, having obtained three certificates of International Standard ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 since 2003.

The project is supervised by the third party of Singaporean experts who inspected the project once six months, he said.

Upon regular check, the water safety level in the area conformed to the required standard, he added.

When asked about the compensation given to the local farmers for moving their house for the implementation of project, the Myanmar officials said through negotiation, they have done so in accordance with the new highest standard in order not to let them suffer.

Geng Yi, general manager of China's Wan Bao company and Yang Tze Copper Ltd , reiterated that the Chinese companies are legally registered foreign invested ones in Myanmar and all its projects are carried out under the country's law, while respecting the nation's culture, customs and religious practices.

However, since the start of the implementation of the project early this year after taking over from Canada's Ivanhoe, few local villagers were first dissatisfied with the project generating some problems with the project which is merely an economic issue. Later, with political instigation, it has been misguided and developed into a series of political protests by local villagers since the past two months, complicating the issue, some analysts here viewed.

Source: Xinhua