ESIA Report: The Letpadaung Copper Project

/ Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Limited (MWMCL or Project Proponent) is developing the Letpadaung Copper Project (the Project) located in the south of Sagaing Region, Myanmar. The Project site is approximately 4.5 km to the south west of Monywa, the largest township of the Region. The Letpadaung deposit, on which the Project is based, is the largest of four deposits (Sabetaung, Sabetaung South, Kyisintaung and Letpadaung) in terms of resource in the Monywa area and accounts for 75% of the resource from all four deposits.

The Project comprises an open cut mine from which copper ore and mine waste will be extracted; a network of crushers which break the ore down to a size suitable for leaching; a series of three heap leach pads (HLPs) which will be progressively increased in height as the optimum leaching period of each six metre high layer is reached, until each HLP reaches a full height of 84 metres; and a solvent extraction and electro-winning plant (SX/EW plant) which is used to extract the copper in the solution drawn from the HLPs and then plate the copper onto electrodes for sale and export. The estimated mine life is 30 years.

This Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is based on the development of an open-pit copper mining operation at the Letpadaung deposit to support an ore processing capacity of 92,000 tonnes per day (tpd). This is expected to produce 100,000 tons of copper per annum (100 ktpa). The stripping ratio in the mine is 0.99, so it is expected that the mining process will also produce 30 Mtpa of waste rock. This waste rock will be dumped in three (3) areas around the mine during the first 19 years of mine life and then placed as backfill into the mined out pit after that time. The waste rock dumps (WRDs) will range in height from 85 m to 150 m in height.

The main contents of this ESIA report include:

  • An overview of the Project, its location, history and current operation and facilities;
  • The administrative setting, including government and public administration structures in the Project area, and the legislation, regulations and guidelines that apply to the Project’s development;
  • Details of historic studies conducted in the area from 1996 onwards;
  • A detailed description of the baseline biophysical, social and community health aspects of the Project;
  • Technical details of the Project, including details of its construction and operation;
  • A description of the risk assessment methodology and the Project’s biophysical, social and community health impacts;
  • Environmental, social and community health management and monitoring plans for managing and mitigating the Project’s risks and impacts;
  • MWMCL’s annual reporting and Project commitments; and
  • The ESIA conclusions and recommendations.