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Woman killed, 20 injured in Myanmar clashes

Yangon : A woman villager was killed and 20 others, including 11 police personnel and nine villagers, were injured in clashes when the Myanmar Wanbao mining company commenced extending its working area in Monywa, Sagaing region, official sources confirmed Tuesday.

The erection of a fence in the project area was hindered by dozens of villagers several times Monday, Xinhua reported citing the sources.

Tension built up between the villagers and the police, leading to a volatile situation. The police had to disperse the villagers by firing warning shots, said sources.

Myanmar Wanbao company announced in a statement Monday the commencement of the construction of the Letpadaung copper project under the direction of the government to extend its working area at the project site as required by the Myanmar Investment Commission.

The construction of the Letpadaung project had been delayed for two years.

“The company hopes that with the commencement of construction, the Letpadaung project can reach ‘operational status’ soon where the company can continue sharing the benefits of this project with its community and the whole of Myanmar,” the statement said.

According to the statement, during the delay period, the company has not only complied with the investment commission’s recommendations and the direction of the implementation committee, it has also gone beyond them in terms of its social and environmental responsibilities and also in terms of its community consultations.

Referring to land compensation and subsidies, the statement claimed that since 2011 the Letpadaung project has paid three tranches of land compensation or subsidies to the villagers who had lost land in the project area.

The criteria for the land compensation or subsidies was decided by the Myanmar government based on Myanmar law and local market price of the land, and the total amount of compensation and subsidies is between 1.825 million Kyats ($1,825) and 3.25 million Kyats per acre depending on the type of land.

The construction work was resumed in October 2013 under a revised contract signed in July of the year by the state-owned Myanmar Mining Enterprise, Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd and China’s Wanbao Mining Ltd.

In May this year, the construction work was again disturbed after two Chinese contractors with Wanbao, along with a Myanmar national, were kidnapped from the project area by some villagers but were released later after hard negotiations.