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Canada's Ivanhoe Mines seeks Japanese finance for Mynamar venture

Published by MAC on 2002-07-29

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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