No more projects like Letpadaungtaung if Myanmar becomes EITI member

If Myanmar becomes a full member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), there will be no more projects like Letpadaungtaung copper mine, which caused problems with local people, Dr Zaw Oo, a business advisor to the president, said.

“Our country depended heavily on natural resources before. Human resources weren’t that important. It’s like precious stones extracted from under the ground being more important than humans, and the country had no transparency on that. We didn’t know where the money earned from the sale of jewels went. But now we have changed that,” Dr Zaw Oo said.

“While acting in accordance with EITI standards, transparency isn’t enough. We were already a contender to be a member of that international organization. Our country has now less natural resources. But the extraction is sure to continue despite that. However, income from that business is something of concern to every citizen of the country. Equal sharing will come about. And then projects such as Letpadaungtaung that can harm the people will have to be stopped,” he said.

President Thein Sein announced last year that the country would apply for a candidate member of EITI by the end of 2013.

Projects such as these raised questions about benefits gained from the export of such natural resources and whether the proceeds go the public sector or somewhere else.

The Letpadaungtaung project, run jointly by the Wanbao Company and Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd, has faced protests since it was started. Clashes between the authorities and local residents took place frequently inside the project area.


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