Building a new home hand-in-hand
Story of how Letpadaung Copper Mine Project in Myanmar performs corporate social responsibility and drives local community development
Edited by CCTV.com Panview Team
Editor's Note: This is a story shared at the thematic session on "People-to-People Connectivity," one of the 6 parallel sessions of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on May 14-15.
Letpadaung Copper Mine Project in Myanmar is a large resource project Wanbao Mining Limited, an affiliate of China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), has funded and developed in the Southeast Asian country with a total investment of more than USD1 billion and a production period of about 30 years as one of the landmark projects under the "Belt and Road."
Highly-attentive to the performance of corporate social responsibility, Wanbao has propelled local management and operations, implemented the community support and development plan and built an ecological ecosystem with a high level of organic integration revolving around the copper mine project to share dividends from the project with the local community and villagers.
New Village, New Home, New Life
"Welcome to my new home", Tun Tun, the host of a court surrounded with a bamboo fence, greets the journalist, rubbing his hands with a smile, and inviting the journalist to visit his new home and see his new life.
In the middle of the court is a small Chinese pickup truck, on the left side of the truck are laundry racks with sarong and shirts, and on the right side is an all-new two-storey building with the gray wall paint shining in the sunshine.
Tun Tun's wife shows their baby still in the cradle, and the smiles on this three-member family portray the optimistism about their future life and the acknowledgment of local villagers to the project, "it is the copper mine project that has given me such a good new home and given me such a good life."
With a bronzy complexion and thin build, Tun Tun, aged 35, was born and raised in the local village. Sitting in a spacious sitting room with good lighting, he sighs with emotion, “since the commencement of the copper mine project, our life has gotten better and better. The company has built the village and houses and helped us first use electricity and tap water. They have also given me a job. We used to only work on the farm, but couldn't earn enough money, as a result of pure dependence on natural rainfall. Now, the company has taught us skills, so we can do our own business.”
Tun Tun's life track looks like a big "smiling face" curve. He has moved to his new home and got a new job. The big change wouldn't have come true without his own painstaking struggles and help from the company, which had proved more important.
In the new migrants' village, Wanbao has built a new village for migrant villagers, offered water and power supply services and helped them get employed. The company has helped villagers initiate micro enterprise projects transport fleets, construction companies, cement factories, prefabricated board factories, farms and well drilling teams.
Moreover, realizing "teaching one to fish is better than giving him a fish", the company has opened training courses, including driving school, animal farm and technical training seminars, to help villagers learn skills, bought oil presses and other small equipment to help improve abilities and start individual operations.
The company is implementing projects, including brickyards, purified water factories, electric post factories, chicken farms and vegetable greenhouses, and a mining village revolving around the copper mine project that is gradually rising with new hope!
"Let everybody live a good life!"
The company has also take into consideration - villagers in other villages. "We will not allow any village to lag behind but make every village and every person live a good life because of the copper mine."
The leaders, Chinese employees and local employees of the company have visited local fields and communicated with villagers in the burning sun. Their talks have often lasted for several hours.
The biggest concern of local villagers is employment. Accordingly, the company has offered an unemployment subsidy plan to help those villagers without working capacity to access basic subsistence security.
Some villagers felt strange and doubted it. The company has deployed eight working teams with over 30 Chinese and local employees, who have worked day and night to exchange views with every village.
Ms. Yu, leader of the third team, said, "every team has 2-3 members, mainly Chinese employees and local employees have worked as interpreters. Some villagers were very warm, some felt very strange and some resisted strongly in the beginning. As I still member, one household didn't open the door at all, but we just kept waiting outside their door, trying to persuade them with great patience and in a loud voice. Finally, we moved them, and they changed their attitude and opened the door to let us in. After finishing the work one day, I even couldn’t speak anymore due to a sore throat."
The exchange with every household and patient work have made a tangible effect. The company has regularly delivered one-stop services, including information review, opening of bank accounts and distribution of subsidy passbook, to local villages, who have never used passbooks before. The work has won trust from word of mouth.
Building A New Home Hand in Hand
When implementing the community support and development plan (CSD), the company has persisted in the operating mechanism combining "villagers' participation, company’s leadership and government's supervision," which has assured different activities have won full support from villagers and the government, and maximized both the interests of villagers and social returns of the project.
When implementing the CSD engineering project, the company has persisted in contract management to assure effective control over funding, progress and quality. The mine project involves 33 CSD villages. However, the company has made available water supply, power supply and road services, built physical facilities like hospitals, kindergartens, schools and irrigation works that villagers can see and feel, and offered convenient services such as mobile medical teams.
These moves mean villagers can enjoy a modern life. Tun Tun's baby was born at a hospital built by the company, and he has worked as a driver for a fleet in the mine area. Later, he launched a transport fleet with 45 trucks with assistance from the company and offered transport services to the company and adjacent towns. He has become the leader guiding local villagers to get rich.
A harmonious home makes prosperity. The construction of the Letpadaung Copper Mine Project is like the fusion between one "big home" and numerous small "homes". Only when every small home lives a happy life, can the "big home" realize healthy and stable development.
With vigorous support from the Myanmar government and partners, Wanbao has worked hard and Chinese and local employees have made unselfish contributions.
The copper mine project is getting more prosperous, the local community has started living a better life. Both the "big home" and the "small home" are going on the way of harmony, prosperity and beauty.
(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)
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