An exchange of gunfire occurred on May 8 between resistance forces and Burma Army troops who were believed to be guarding property belonging to Wanbao Mining Ltd., a notorious copper mining joint venture between the Chinese government and the military in Sagaing’s Yinmarbin township.
Following the attack, residents of 10 nearby villages were forced to flee their homes after marauding troops opened fire with heavy artillery, locals told DVB.
Villagers from both Salingyi and Yinmarbin townships recently told DVB that they had been forced to leave their homes after the Burma Army sent reinforcements to protect Wanbao’s assets in the region. There were no immediate reports of casualties from Sunday’s attacks.
Wanbao Mining Ltd. is operated by China’s Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. and Myanmar Yang Tse Copper Ltd. in partnership with the junta’s sanctioned Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL) conglomerate.
Following the coup, pressure from Beijing has seen Wanbao’s Yinmarbin locations mined by Burma Army soldiers in an effort to protect the copper plant from attacks by resistance groups.
The venture is believed to have scaled down operations in the face of staff boycotts.
An increasing percentage of Wanbao’s employees have chosen to partake in Burma’s Civil Disobedience Movement, citing a removal of rights, a refusal to work for both Chinese and pro-military bosses, and enforced labor amongst their concerns.
According to recent reports, many of the ventures remaining employees left the Wanbao mining compounds after 16 PDF groups threatened staff to desert by May 5.
Wanbao has been accused of operating mines on land grabbed from local populations in Africa and Asia.