YANGON - Wanbao, the Chinese Copper Mining Company on Monday sent a request letter to Chief Minister of Myanmar's Sagaing Region U Thar Aye, asking for urgent assistance for the immediate release of two Chinese nationals working for the Norbenco team under the company, who were kidnapped by activists on Sunday.
Three contractors, sent by Wanbao company to do work of surveying the land in the Southern area, were taken away by activists claimed to be from a group called the Student Network of Mandalay and two monks Sunday morning at 11 a.m. local time.
Of the three, Khin Aung Moe, a Myanmar national, was released on Sunday evening, but two Chinese contractors were still being detained.
Both sides are negotiating for the release of the remaining two.
The activists demanded three conditions on Sunday afternoon in exchange for the release of the three contractors, which are immediate release of an activist Aung Soe, who was arrested earlier on Sunday by Myanmar police, taking down all existing fencing work and stopping erecting fencing on land whose owners have rejected to take land subsidy from the government.
Later the kidnappers called again and dropped their request for the release of their activist friend Aung Soe. Instead, they asked for the total halting of the Letpadaung project in the town of Monywa, northwestern Myanmar.
The construction work on the Latpadaungtaung copper mine project in Monywa in northwest Myanmar's Sagaing region is to resume under a revised contract signed on July 24 last year by the state-owned Myanmar Mining Enterprise, Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd and China's Wanbao Mining Ltd.
The project has been undertaken by the Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd and the Wanbao Mining Ltd under the approval of the Ministry of Mines in March 2010 after a Canadian company, the Ivan hoe, pulled out two years ago.
The project was interrupted for months since November 2012 by intermittent protest against its implementation, causing great losses to all sides.
Myanmar's government appointed a probe panel, led by opposition leader and parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi to investigate into the project and the final report of the panel to the president was released on March 12, 2013 proposing that the project should go on as the best choice for the economic benefit of the nation and the people, especially for the benefit of the future generation.
Subsequently, a committee for the implementation of the probe panel's report, headed by Myanmar President's Office Minister U Hla Tun was formed.
In accordance with the guideline of the committee, Chinese and Myanmar companies concerned have done a lot of undertakings, including compensation for confiscated land, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for local people and amendment of the contract.