Opponents of a nearly $1 billion copper mine in northwestern Myanmar expressed outrage on Tuesday over a government-ordered report that said the project should continue and which refrained from demanding punishment for police involved in a violent crackdown on protesters.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi chaired the investigation commission that produced the report, which was released late on Monday night. It could pose a problem for Ms. Suu Kyi by identifying her with the pro-growth policies of the government against the interests of grass-roots people’s movements.
President Thein Sein appointed the commission after police cracked down on protesters at the Letpadaung mine November 29, leaving scores hospitalised with serious burns. A protest leader said on Tuesday that demonstrations will resume.
Ms. Suu Kyi is scheduled to travel to the mine area, in Monywa township 760 km north of Yangon, to talk with the protesting villagers on Wednesday.
Protesters say the mine, a joint venture between China’s Wan Bao mining company and a Myanmar military conglomerate, causes environmental, social and health problems and should be shut down. The report said the operation should not be halted, even as it acknowledged that the mine lacked strong environmental protection measures and would not create more jobs for local people. The report said scrapping the mine could create tension with China and could discourage badly needed foreign investment.