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The Thai engineering giant Ital-Thai candidly admitted earlier this year that around 10,000 people would be forced to make way for the massive Tavoy industrial complex and deep-sea port in southern Burma, on which work recently began. Local activists claim however the figure will be closer to 30,000. The project will create Southeast Asia’s largest industrial site replete with petrochemical plants, plastics factories and oil refineries. The damage to the environment surrounding the 200 sq-kilometre site is estimated to be vast.
But the project is strategically vital to Southeast Asian economies vying for greater trade with the west, and thus interested parties have sought to smother the likely impacts on civilians and wildlife in the region. These images show the early stages of a project key to Burma rise as a prized geostrategic asset for the region.