The Letpadaung Taung Investigation Commission (“Commission”) has issued its complete and final report (“Report”) into the Letpadaung Taung copper mining project (“Project”). The Letpadaung deposit is one of four significant mineralized deposits located in west central Myanmar; approximately 5 kilometres west of the town of Monywa situated 110 kilometres west of Mandalay and 832 kilometres north of Yangon.
Since August 2012 the Project has been the focus of angry protests by villagers, farmers and monks who allege the project has resulted in land-grabs and damaged the environment.
In response to these on-going protests an extraordinary motion was presented in the Pyithu Hluttaw on 23 November 2012. The motion was sponsored by the National League for Democracy (“NDL”) representative for Pale in the Sagaing Region where the Project is located. The motion called for the formation of “an independent, national-level commission composed of individuals and organisations trusted by the public and local and foreign experts and organisations” to investigate and make recommendations in relation to the Project as well as nearby mines at Sabetaung and Kyisintaung.
The protests at the mine site came to a head at 2:30am on the morning of 29 November 2012 when police entered the protesters’ camp in an attempt to disperse them. The police fired smoke-bombs containing white phosphorous (a substance prohibited for use against civilians under the Geneva Treaty of 1980). Many of the smoke canisters used broke-up on impact with the ground causing fires which resulted in injuries and extensive burns to many of the protestors, the majority of whom were monks who had joined villagers in resistance to the Project.
An investigation commission consisting of 30 members and chaired by NDL leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was formed pursuant to President’s Office Notification No. 92/2012 on 1 December 2012. It was then reconstituted pursuant to President’s Office Notification No. 95/2012 (“Notification No (95/2012)” issued on 3 December. The reconstituted Commission was reduced to 16 members with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi continuing as Chairperson. The Commission’s Report was published in Burmese on 12 March 2013.
For further details please refer to our newsletter of [http://www.charltonslaw.com/en/newsletters/Myanmar/2013/20130419/20130419-NewsLetter-Myanmar-law.html]