Despite an amended agreement allocating the company a lower percentage of mining profits, Wanbao’s general manager in Myanmar Geng Yi said that the Chinese firm will double its investment on the project to a sum of up to US$997 million.
“We have invested $600 million to date,” he said, “and we will up to $997 million.”
He said that expenses incurred due to specifications in the reviewed contract have dictated that the company must increase its investment.
The controversial Latpadaung copper mine project is backed by Wanbao alongside Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd. Previously Wanbao was to secure 49 percent of the profits. However, an implementation committee was appointed by the Myanmar government following a violent crackdown on protests in November, and that committee recommended that the project be continued but listed a revision of terms in the contract.
Under the new agreement signed on July 24, Wanbao will receive only 30 percent of profits from the copper mine, which is located near Monywa in Sagaing Region.
Wanbao will also be required to pay $2 million a year in compensation and funding for those local villagers and farmers displaced from their land due to the project.
The project’s foreign investor in the original agreement with the Ministry of Mining in 1998 was Canadian firm Ivanhoe which sold its share in 2010 to the Wanbao Company.