Copper mine to extend fences: villagers

Kaung Kant Lin
Sede villagers protest against Letpadaungtaung copper mine project

As rumours spread about fences being on farmland near Sagaing Region's Letpadaungtaung copper mine, banners condemning the project have been displayed at Sede village in Salingyi Township.

Villagers have been erecting barbed wire fences around their land to prevent incursions. The area was controversially allocated to China's Wanbao Company by the government in 2012.

The signs say: “Warning against military cronies and megalomaniacs”, “We will die if our land is seized”, “We never kneel for the truth” and “Mine violated the commission report led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”.

The commission reported that there were 7,868 acres of seized farmland at Letpadaungtaung. Wanbao was given a 60-year government land lease in September 2012 and was supposed to invest US$997 million in the project.

The commission reported that there had been many protests over farmland which had been seized without transparency and proper compensation with no job opportunities for residents. 

Sagaing Region Development Affairs Minister Myint Kyi said that plans were underway to compensate farmers who lost their land.

The Sagaing Region Government Committee, Wanbao and villagers held a monthly meeting at the company's office on September 13 to discuss compensation, relocating the villages, development and micro-loan terms.

The authorities broke up the Letpadaungtaung protest camp in a dawn raid in November 2012 using teargas, smoke bombs and fire.

Over 100 monks and protesters were injured with serious burns. One protester has been killed at the mine.