Myanmar: Community residents protest vs. megaprojects due to environment damage and inadequate compensation; company responds

Residents of Myanmar town of Letpadung protest against Chinese-operated infrastructure megaprojects and allege that the operations are causing serious environmental damage.  Furthermore, residents in the community allege that there have been land expropriations without adequate compensation.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. Company to respond. The company's response is linked below.

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Article
17 April 2018

Myanmar: two villagers released on bail after protest against Letpadaung Mine

Author: ZARNI MANN, The Irrawaddy

"2 Letpadaung Locals Released on Bail After Confrontation with Police", 2 April 2018

Two women who had been arrested in the Letpadaung copper mining region, Monywa District, Sagaing Region, were released on bail on Saturday. ...The two women were arrested after a confrontation with police on March 29, while trying to prevent police from entering their village. Both women were in ill health and were detained and then hospitalized.

...Residents of Letpadaung region have been wary of allowing police or local authorities to approach their villages since copper mining began in 2013, as authorities and mining companies have tried to forcibly relocate villages that lie within designated mining zones. ...About 7,800 acres of land in Salingyi Township were confiscated for the project, which has been dogged by protests over poor compensation and environmental safeguards...

 

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Article
31 March 2018

Myanmar: Police detains two villagers seeking to block eviction on land claimed by China-operated copper mine

Author: Thet Su Aung, Radio Free Asia

"Two Detained in New Letpadaung Mine Protest in Myanmar", 29 March 2018

Villagers confront riot police sent to evict them from their homes near the Letpadaung copper mine in northwestern Myanmar's Sagaing region

Myanmar police...detained two village women seeking to block eviction from their homes on land claimed by a controversial China-operated copper mine in the country’s Sagaing region....

The two women, Ma San Hla and Thwe Thwe Win, had blocked police vehicles entering Old Wet Hmay village, a settlement of 30 households marked for destruction to make way for the Letpadaung copper mine....

The Letpadaung copper mine, run jointly by China’s Wanbao company and a Myanmar-army owned conglomerate, Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd., has come under fire by local residents and farmers who have long protested the company’s land takeovers in the area.

Villagers have heavily criticized and staged protests against mine operators for expropriating land without providing them adequate compensation  and for damaging the environment.

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Company response
12 January 2018

Response by Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Limited

Author: Wanbao Mining

...With regard to local resident relocation and land expropriations, Myanmar Wanbao by now has extended 12.36 billion kyats in three rounds providing to the local residents who are impacted by Letpadung Copper Project for their compensation and subsidies.  The first compensation was given between April 1, 2011 and February 28, 2013...

...Since the Letpadung project started, Myanmar Wanbao, as a responsible company has been paying great attention to the environment conservation...The SGS experts confirmed the operation has met the ISO certification requirements, and the three certificates of ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, OHSAS 18001:2007 were issued at January 24, 2017.  Besides, the company also gained ECC certificate issued by Myanmar Nature Resources and Environment Conservation Ministry...

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Article
17 December 2017

Myanmar activists, Catholic Church hit Chinese-operated megaprojects due to environmental damage & land expropriation without adequate compensation

Author: Thant Zin Oo & Kyaw Myo Min, Radio Free Asia

"Chinese-backed Megaprojects in Myanmar Continue to Raise Ire of Residents", 14 December 2017

Myanmar activists and the leader of the country's Catholic Church...hit out at two controversial Chinese-operated infrastructure megaprojects that they say have caused environmental damage and...land expropriations without adequate compensation.

The large project run by China's Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. Company and Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (UMEHL), a Myanmar army-owned conglomerate, has come under fire by local residents and farmers who have long protested the company's land takeovers in the area.

Naw Ohn Hla, head of the Committee to Protect Mount Letpadaung...said..."the farmlands have been destroyed, and farmers can't grow good crops and can't farm on time," he said.

The company said that it had offered the farmers money, but that they refused to accept it.

Myitsone Dam project

...The leader of Myanmar's Catholic Church told residents...that all citizens should object to the Chinese-financed Myitsone Dam, a massive hydroelectric power development project at the confluence of the Mali and N'mai rivers which form the source of the Irrawaddy River.

The controversial...dam was suspended...over its enormous flooding area and environmental impacts....

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo told Catholic congregants...that...the dam project...could destroy the economy and social fabric of the community.

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