Massive Land Confiscation for Copper Mine

Copper Mine Project in Monywa. (Photo: Canadian Friends of Burma)

Over 7,800 acres of farmland in Salingyi Township, Sagaing Division, has been confiscated for a copper mine project with landowners forced out of their villages, according to local sources.

A number of concerned residents told The Irrawaddy that grabbed lands belong to people in Salingyi’s Hse Te, Zee Daw, Wet Hmay and Kan Taw villages and authorities ordered residents to leave the area earlier this year. Most of the villagers do not want to relocate but some have already left, they claim.

Farmers also said that they were only given a small amount of compensation for their property as, according to company officials and local authorities, their lands are actually owned by the state and the confiscation was carried out by presidential order.

“Copper produced from this project can be fixed with a price but our farmlands are priceless. Those lands can exist forever so I don’t want any compensation no matter how much it is,” said Khin Maung Win, one of the victims.

Locals also told The Irrawaddy that farmers have submitted an appeal to President Thein Sein, the chief minister of Sagaing Division and other relevant authorities in order to get their lands returned, but no measures have been taken in response so far.

Led by the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd and two Chinese companies, copper mining in Kyaysintaung and Letpantaung areas of Salingyi reportedly began in late 2011.

A similar project is also operating in Monywa, the capital of Sagaing Division, in which a Chinese company is reportedly involved.

The copper project in Monywa is one of the largest in Burma. It was initiated by the Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Ltd (MICCL)—a joint venture between the former Burmese Ministry of Mines-1 and the Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines.

The US Treasury Department put the MICCL onto its sanctions list in 2009.

11 Responses to Massive Land Confiscation for Copper Mine

  1. Stuff them.

    We want to be rich like Singapore with iPAD’s and things.

    Steal it, get rid of them. They don’t count anyway. They are POOR!!!

    These poor people must understand that this is a new world and new Burma with Hiliary Clinton visit and all that. We need to be like the Singaporeans or Chinese.

    We already singed off hundred times more diggings. This is the “Age of the Bulldozer” . If you don’t want to be evicted, why don’t you get RICH.

  2. Looks like Thein Sein is living up to his nickname Thein Zay (confiscate)he’s earned in his former incarnation in uniform. The biggest robber baron in Burma is the UMEHL (Oobaing). Lifting of the sanctions and detente will be like a shot in the arm boosting their confidence and making them bolder than ever in the operations of their enterprising arm (like giving the cat a pair of wings as the old expression goes).

  3. Isn’t this the copper mine that charlatan Tay Za sold to the Chinese? Too many leeches sucking the blood of the poor Burmese.

  4. The preious contract awarded to Chinese company should screwtinize by parliamentarian business committee, how far it is in a proper manner or not. If find irregularity and corruption manner immediately should take action against the peoples involed in signing conract agreement.

  5. This was a deal made with Chinese to shut down the myitsone dam folks..

  6. Compensations to the owners of the land SHOULD be properly arranged. With the sales of all the properties, there is no doubt of capitalizing and liquidating and hopefully getting rich. But who is getting rich. Shouldn’t the former owners get SHARE of the sales price. The investor/Chinese/Canadian whoever is paying for it but the FARMERS should be paid. They are poor because they are not properly paid. What if the Land was own by your parents or relatives, Ohn? If the profits was $100m, if there were 100 farmers, they should get some percentage of it. And, will the government distribute the TAX and PROFIT? Well, it just doesn’t have good reputation and record so far.

  7. It was a kind thought. It was meant to be over the top sarcasm.

    In these circumstances, even the going land price or more is not appropriate.

    These are large scale prospective land destruction with wider environmental and financial- investment as well as revenue- issues.

    All have to be well thought of, planned and consulted including inevitable environmental issues to the local people as well as wider public and people’ s representatives and all have to agree after due debate, discussion and arbitration before a bulldozer starts the engine.

    That is why the current parliament is in a rush to approve the investment law as required by the ASEAN, the WEST and the international financing agencies BEFORE other important environmental and workers right law with real teeth are even discussed, giving irreversible head start to the companies related to said group.

    Yet they are not robust enough for the more legally strict American companies so they claim grace holding onto some sanctions they cannot currently use.

    Unfortunately not only the military but also the immensely celebrated opposition does not seem to be demanding such measure.

    Still the biggest problem is ( if you look around your fellow comment writers) the fact that because they are keen to be in a rich country as if in Singapore due to their long felt inferiority, most are not careful about what and who might get hurt on the way there.

    And that and that alone is the biggest problem for Burma’s future ( rather than the military per se, meaning our own greed) where land ( environment), moral and social destruction are likely to descend onto the unsuspecting populace on account of getting rich called “progress”.

    More information and thought is needed.

    Sorry, it was pure sarcasm.

  8. The MILITARY IN NEW CLOTHES has just continued its historical brutality. Their ‘government’ is running close to being null and void while such brutal and immoral actions continue.

    These guys just don’t get it. Burma does not belong to them. It belongs to the people of Burma.

    Responsible governance in the 21st Century is not like this. The Saddams, Gaddafis, Mugabes, and all the rest of the latest rising batch of the same are a dying breed.

    A democracy is different. The ‘government’ should ask Aung San Suu Kyi how it is done, and worj with Thein Sein while the world watches to make steady progress towards credibility.

    NO SANCTIONS SHOULD BE REMOVED under these circumstances, and NO VISAS given to those who sanction such appalling dictatorial and oppressive and CCP-like actions.

    China needs to get its claws out of the grave-sites and homes of so many Burmese people, and give up on attempted dominance of a country it helped destroy- for resources.

  9. On the subject:

    Hopefully there will be indigenous journalists writing more like these in near future.

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