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Press Release

With reference to the Amnesty International report titled, "Open for Business? Corporate Crime and Abuses at Myanmar Copper Mine" published today we would like to state that we find the report to be groundless, and we strongly refute its wild allegations and unsubstantiated claims. This report is not acceptable as it relies on hearsay and conjecture rather than on hard facts.

 

Wanbao Mining Ltd vehemently denies sensationalist claims of collusion with authorities to use force against protestors and villagers. Wanbao supports peaceful dialogue as the best way to achieve social peace and sustainable development.

 

We also would like to point out that the Amnesty International report quotes heavily out of context from an outdated version of an ESIA that is not the final version. The ESIA was carried out by the internationally renowned and respected Australian consultancy, Knight Piesold. The ESIA has taken over two years to prepare and review, and it was based on community consultations and followed an exhaustive process. During the consultation process a number of environmental and technical issues were raised and these issues were able to be addressed and resolved. The ESIA has gone through extensive reviews for over one year by the Review Team organised by the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Forestry consisting of 45 top environmental and social experts as well as Ministries, NGOs and community representatives in the country and who have paid site visits to similar projects in the Western Australia. Knight Piesold have prepared the ESIA using International Finance Corporation's (IFC) standards as a good practice guide to the achievement of sound environmental, social and health outcomes from the Project's implementation.

 

 

On 11th January 2015 Wanbao Mining Ltd received a letter from Amnesty International titled 'Amnesty International's Investigation into the Monywa Copper Mine Project' in which the organisation claims to have spent a 15 day period interviewing 'individuals affected by the project, activists and lawyers'. In our response to Amnesty International, we expressed our disappointment in its failure to communicate with our company during its short visit. After all, if Amnesty International was seeking to carry out a truly fair investigation than it should consult everyone especially those it accuses of wrongdoing. We believe had Amnesty involved us in its investigations it would not have been making such wide and unsubstantiated claims which are fact less. We must say that we find this conduct to be unprofessional, highly unfair and heavily biased.

The report neglects the recent breakthrough we have had in our community relations due to tireless efforts on both our parts and those of the villagers to reach an understanding. Over 71% of total land lost villagers consulted in 35 villages have supported our payment contribution plans and the project. And within these 35 villages, 27 villages consulted through unprecedented door-to-door visits have given us an average 91% acceptance rate of the contribution and the project. These numbers are considered by international best practice to have exceeded the requirements for " broad community support" of the mine project.

 

We should also point out that the contribution payments design were shaped through our community consultations. It was the villagers who originally said that they would like to have regular and predictable payments until they receive a Wanbao job. However, if they decline a Wanbao job, they would receive the contribution payment for the lifetime of the project. These payments would be in addition to the land compensation provided which ranges 1,825,000Ks and 3,250,000Ks per acre depending on the type of land.

We have continued to engage in peaceful dialogue to achieve maximum results from SME development programs and CSR investment, none of which is reflected in Amnesty International's unprofessional analysis.

 

Finally, we would like to repeat our commitment that Wanbao Mining Ltd remains dedicated to working with our local community and Myanmar government in maximising results from this national project for the people of Letpadaung and Myanmar, for the life of the mining project and beyond.