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15 Sep 2021

Chris Barrett, The Sydney Morning Herald

Junta links put spotlight on sale of Australian company’s mine in Myanmar

15 September 2021

An Australian company is under fire over the proposed sale of a mine in the troubled south-east Asian nation of Myanmar to an outfit with alleged links to the military junta.

Perth-based Myanmar Metals [...] has announced plans to offload its 51 per cent stake of the Bawdwin mine in north-east Shan state near Myanmar’s border with China, having outlined problems financing the project following a coup in the country in February.

But Myanmar Metals’ $US30 million ($A40.9 million) sale is being challenged by civil society groups, who have lodged a complaint with the Australian National Contact Point (AusNCP), an Australian government agency which gauges multinationals’ adherence to OECD guidelines for business conduct.

[...] Activists fear its profits will end up in the hands of a military regime whose bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and opponents of its takeover has left more than 1000 dead.


The sale, to be voted on by shareholders on September 24, is to Win Myint Mo Industries (WMM), a Myanmar entity which is already a joint venture partner in the Bawdwin mine and whose links with a military-aligned conglomerate have raised alarm bells.


Myanmar Metals chief executive John Lamb did not return calls on Wednesday but said last month the sale represented a return of 75 per cent of its investment in the country, an outcome he described as “a good result considering the circumstances and when compared to outcomes reported from other companies exiting Myanmar positions”.