03 Jan Letpadaung copper mine protestors reject payout offer

Written by Mizzima Published in Latpadaung Read 3254 times
Protesters near the Letpadaung copper mine site on December 30, 2014. Photo: Aung Ko Oo/Mizzima
Protesters near the Letpadaung copper mine site on December 30, 2014. Photo: Aung Ko Oo/Mizzima

As supporters rallied in Yangon and Mandalay, villagers in Letpadaung said an offer by the China-backed copper mine to compensate them for crops damaged while erecting a fence on disputed land was inadequate and vowed to continue protests until the property was returned, according to media reports on January 2.

Radio Free Asia reported China’s Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. and its partner, the military-backed Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd., will pay farmers the highest market rate for crops at the site in Letpadaung, Sagaing division, quoting U Saw Myint Oo, minister of the division’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Breeding.

The copper mine company has fenced off land for the mine that residents claim belongs to local farmers. Crops were damaged in the action.

Villagers have rejected the offer and demanded the company return the land that has been fenced off.

Protests over the last 10 days have resulted in the death of one protestor, 56-year-old Daw Khin Win, shot by police, and injury to several others.

Supporters rallied in Yangon and Mandalay on January 1, denouncing the violent crackdown at the mine site and called on the authorities to adhere to an investigation committee’s final recommendations on the controversial mining project, according to media reports.

President U Thein Sein formed a committee in March 2013 to investigate the violent crackdown on protestors in November 2012. The committee found Wanbao had improperly compensated farmers for their land and that the appropriation process lacked transparency.