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Latpadaung committee seeks continuation of project

In a press release published in The New Light of Myanmar on Thursday, the investigation commission for Latpadaung copper mine project announced that it is following "ways to continue the project by fixing flaws in the findings and laying down plans to fully serve the national interest, the interests of local people and the interests of the future generation."

Latpadaung copper mine. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima
 Latpadaung copper mine. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima
The commission is currently also addressing the issue of compensation for farmers displaced from their lands throughout the project, and it announced that 570 farmers have received compensation of 1785.675 million kyat (US$2 million) for 1753.71 acres of their confiscated lands.

Naing, a local farmer, previously said to Mizzima that, “We cannot work on our farmland after they dumped the waste earth from the copper mine production, so we might as well accept their compensation.”

Other farmers have refused to accept the compensation and the committee has received 177 complaints, of which it has settled 33, regarding the hierarchy of land types from farmers.

Aye Aye Khaing from new Tone village said to Mizzima last month that they could not accept the compensation as it was much lower than the current market price of 4 million kyat ($4,545).

“We have not accepted this money since we have not yet signed the agreement with Wanbao and the compensation amount is too low,” she said.  

The committee has, so far, scrutinized that 7867.78 acres of lands have been confiscated; 6965.54 is the area needed to implement the project; and, 902.24 acres could be withdrawn from the project.

Both of the contractors at the Latpadaung copper mine—the Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd and Myanma Economic Holdings—welcomed the previous Inquiry Commission’s initial report and confirmed that they intended to follow its recommendations.

The current investigation committee comprises 15 members, including: the chairman, Minister Hla Tun; Geng Yi, an official of the Myanmar Wanbao Company; and Dr. Aung Tun Thet, a member of the Myanmar Investment Commission.

On November 29, more than 100 monks and residents were injured during a violent police crackdown at protest camps in Latpadaung copper mine area. Two Buddhist monks were severely injured during the crackdown and were sent to Thailand to receive medical treatment.

For more background:
  1. Latpadaung farmers disagree over compensation
  2. Mining companies welcome Latpadaung report
  3. Activists condemn Latpadaung report
Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 April 2013 15:55 )