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Monywa copper project in Myanmar seeks fresh finance

Published by MAC on 2002-07-29

Monywa copper project in Myanmar seeks fresh finance

The Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Ltd, a Myanmar-Canadian joint venture, is seeking fresh finance from Japanese companies for the implementation of the second phase of its huge copper project in Myanmar.

The Monywa copper project in Myanmar's northwestern Sagaing division is the biggest of its kind in the country. The Myanmar Times on Monday quoted the Ivanhoe president as saying that the company will see a total annual production rise to 155,000 tons, based on further development of the Letpaduang deposit, another deposit after Sabetaung and Kyisintaung in Monywa.

The Sabetaung and the Kyisintaung deposits have been yielding 27,500 tons of top-grade copper annually since the first phase of the project began in 1998.

The Ivanhoe, which holds a 50-percent joint venture with a Myanmar state mining enterprise, invested 60 million US dollars in the project with an extra 90 million dollars financed by Japanese corporations including Marubeni and Nissho Iwai in the first phase of the project.

However, in the implementation of the second phase of the project, another factor influencing the task is the availability of very large amount of electric power as it is five times bigger than the first phase and is estimated to require up to 70 megawatts (mw) of the power, according to the president.

Official statistics show that foreign contracted investment in Myanmar's mining sector so far amounted to 522.5 million dollars since the country opened to such investment in late 1988, standing as the fifth largest sectorally.

Source: Xinhua (China) July 29, 2002

Canada's Ivanhoe Mines seeks Japanese finance for Mynamar venture

Ivanhoe Mines of Canada is seeking a multi-million-dollar financial injection from Japan to expand its huge and controversial copper mine in military-ruled Myanmar, a report here said.

Efforts are underway to attract Japanese input following a 60 million dollars investment by Ivanhoe and 90 million dollars spent by Japanese corporations, including Marubeni and Nissho Iwai, on the first phase of the Monywa copper project, according to the Myanmar Times. "We are trying to negotiate a financing package from Japan," Ivanhoe president Daniel Kunz said in the weekly's edition to be published Monday.

Ivanhoe is a 50 percent joint venture partner with the government in the project, which began in 1998 and now produces 27,500 tonnes of copper per year from deposits in northern Myanmar's Sagaing Division.

Completion of Monywa's second-phase development would see total annual production surge to 155,000 tonnes, the newspaper said, making it one of the world's largest copper mines.

But Kunz said poor electricity supply in the country could be a factor which influences the start of the second phase.

"We are interested to confirm a reliable (electricity) supply as it is five times bigger than the first phase and we are looking at a very large amount of power," he was quoted as saying.

He said a "perfect supply of power" was needed to operate the highly modern facility, which could require 70 megawatts of electricity in the second phase.

Monywa has caused controversy in Canada, where groups such as the Canadian Labour Congress have linked the copper project to mass conscription of forced labour and called for Ivanhoe to cease investment in Myanmar.

Source: Agence France Press, July 29, 2002

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