“The Canadian company broke the law and it did not meet international standards when it was running the project,” said Thein Than Oo of the Myanmar Lawyers Network.
“The company started the copper mine before the Chinese company Wanbao took over,” he said, adding that it was unclear whether Wanbao was required to adhere to international law by regulators in its home country. “However, the Canadian company, Ivanhoe should follow international law because it comes from a democratic country with a more active civil society,” he said.
Ivanhoe has been under intense scrutiny by Canadian civil society groups for more than 15 years, following widespread allegations that it has been complicit in human rights violations and environmental degradation in several of the world’s most impoverished nations.
Mining Watch Canada detailed allegations of Ivanhoe’s misconduct in Myanmar in the report “Grave Diggers”, which was published in 2000.
The Canadian government, however, is widely considered to be very supportive of Canadian mining companies, even those accused of human rights abuses and environmental degradation in developing and least developed countries.
Thein Than Oo said that two American lawyers who handled a case against Chevron would work on the lawsuit against Ivanhoe, and that more international assistance would be sought.
source: Eleven Myanmar