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Monywa copper mine protests - Burma, Sept 2012

In September 2012, over 5000 villagers participated in a protest at the Monywa copper mine in Burma. Protesters demanded the copper mine be closed, claiming it had led to environmental destruction, forced relocations and illegal land confiscations. The protesters also demanded the release of 3 activists who had allegedly been detained.

On 8 October 2012, around 1000 farmers from 26 villages filed complaints against Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings and Wanbao Mining Copper (part of NORINCO), the 2 companies running the mining project.  They allege that the companies took land by force, and threatened and harassed the villagers.

In November 2012, further protests in Rangoon saw some of the key leaders arrested. On 29 November 2012, the Burmese authorities ordered a crackdown of the protest, allegedly injuring around 70 people, including monks. The government has launched an investigation into the crackdown.

In February 2013, a report by Justice Trust and Burmese lawyers accused the Burmese police of using white phosphorous against protestors during the crackdown. An official commission has yet to deliver its findings.

Below is a selection of media coverage of the protests & lawsuit.

"Burma police 'used white phosphorous' on mine protesters" Jonah Fisher, BBC News, 14 Feb 2013

"China requests Myanmar people to be patient until copper mine project report" Eleven Media (Burma), 12 Feb 2013 (includes statement by Wanbao Mining)

"Wan Bao says it will take legal action if Latpadaung copper mine project suspended" Saw Zin Nyi, Mizzima News (Burma), 28 Jan 2013

"Latpadaung activists sentenced, released in Mandalay", Democratic Voice of Burma, 18 Jan 2013

"Four gold mine protestors sentenced to jail", Aye Nai, Democratic Voice of Burma, 03 Jan 2012

"China confident of Monywa, other projects, continuation", Mizzima News (Burma), 28 Dec 2012

"Protesters set up new camps near controversial mine", Aye Nai, Democratic Voice of Burma, 20 Dec 2012

"Burmese officials make new mine protest arrests", AFP, 14 Dec 2012

Monks protest in Burmese cities over mine crackdown”, BBC News, 12 Dec 2012

Monks stage protest in Rangoon”, Kyaw Phyo Tha, Irrawaddy (Burma), 9 Dec 2012

Myanmar govt apologises to monks over mine protest injuries”, Aung Hla Tun, Reuters, 8 Dec 2012

Burma slams gold miners for protesting without permit”, Aye Nai, Democratic Voice of Burma, 5 Dec 2012

US Officials Meet Mine Monks”, Radio Free Asia, 5 Dec 2012

Monywa Inquiry Commission reduced in numbers and powers”, Mizzima News (Burma), 4 Dec 2012

China remains committed to Monywa project”, Mizzima News (Burma), 3 Dec 2012

Suu Kyi to Head Probe into Copper Mine”, Yadana Htun, AP, 2 Dec 2012

Copper mine solidarity protests spread”, Saw Yan Naing & Nyein Nyein, Irrawaddy (Burma), 30 Nov 2012

Video: Dozens hurt in Burma mine protest”, Jonathan Head, BBC News Asia, 29 Nov 2012

Copper mine protesters arrested and charged”, Nay Myo, Mizzima News (Burma), 28 Nov 2012

Suu Kyi speaks out on Monywa copper mine project”, Mizzima News (Burma), 26 Nov 2012

Letpadaung complaints accepted”, Naw Say Phaw Waa, Myanmar Times, 15 Oct 2012

Letpadaung Farmers to Sue Copper Mine”, Zarni Mann, Irrawaddy (Burma), 9 Oct 2012

Mine Protests Challenge Myanmar Reforms”, Patrick Barta, Wall Street Journal, 24 Sep 2012 (includes statement by Wanbao Minining)

中资企业缅甸铜矿遭当地村民抗议”, Patrick Barta, 华尔街日报, 25 Sep 2012 (Chinese-language version of the Wall Street Journal article)

Copper Mine Protest Earns Nationwide Support”, Nyein Nyein, Irrawaddy (Burma), 13 Sep 2012

Authorities struggle to contain protests at Myanmar mine”, Aung Hla Tun, Reuters, 7 Sep 2012

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings to respond to the concerns raised in the final 4 articles above, but the company declined to do so.

我们邀请了缅甸联邦经济控股回应 – 公司拒绝回应

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Article
25 September 2012
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Author: Patrick Barta,华尔街日报

缅甸Wethmay附近一座中资背景铜矿的扩建计划引起…当地村民…抗议…铜矿…由缅甸军方和…中国北方工业公司旗下的万宝矿产有限公司共同所有。万宝矿产及其缅甸合作伙伴希望扩建铜矿,但据当地人说,这需要征收大片土地,并搬迁多达26个村庄。据村民说…一次抗议活动期间,警方逮捕了十几名抗议人士,并将其中一些人关押数天。据村民所述及当地媒体报道,近几周来,村民们成群聚集(有时候超过1,000人),挑战手持武器、呈射击姿态的警察…万宝矿产副总裁耿一…说,没有哪个村庄被强制搬迁...

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Article
24 September 2012

Mine Protests Challenge Myanmar Reforms

Author: Patrick Barta, Wall Street Journal

Geng Yi, vice president of Wanbao Mining, said...that no village had been forced to relocate, and that some "small groups" of villagers had tried to disturb work at the project site through illegal demonstrations, in some cases encouraged by people...

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Article
13 September 2012

Copper Mine Protest Earns Nationwide Support [Burma]

Author: Nyein Nyein, Irrawaddy [Burma]

Protesters at Monywa’s Letpadaung mountain range have been joined by activists from Rangoon and Mandalay plus members of the 88 Generation Students group in their bid to halt copper mining in the area...which they claim has led to environmental...

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Article
7 September 2012

Authorities struggle to contain protests at Myanmar mine

Author: Aung Hla Tun, Reuters

The Monywa copper mine in Myanmar...should symbolize all the opportunities of a resource-rich country emerging from nearly half a century of military misrule. Instead, as thousands of villagers protest against the mine in a rare standoff with...

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