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more shenanigans by Ivanhoe Mines in Burma


phorbesie
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April 24, 2009, Ottawa

Ivanhoe denies Burma stake sold, CEO claims MICCL never for sale then flip flops

Ivanhoe Mines CEO John Macken in an “open letter†directed at the Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) denied that Ivanhoe's 50% stake in Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Limited (MICCL) has been sold. The “open letter†dated April 9 2009, was a response to a March 31 CFOB press release which reported that SEC documents filed by China Resources Ltd stated that MICCL was sold to a Chinese firm by China Resources' CFO and former MICCL employee Gerald Nugawela.

In February 2007, Ivanhoe Mines announced that it had “sold†its 50% stake in MICCL operator of Burma's largest mine to an “independent third party trust†in return for a guarantee that when the trust sells the stake Ivanhoe will then be paid. After more than two years Ivanhoe continues to refuse to disclose the identity of the members of the blind trust, its structure or its activities. The Burmese military regime continues to own the other 50% of MICCL.

As proof that MICCL was not sold to the Chinese, Macken states at the bottom of page 1 of his letter that “neither Ivanhoe Mines nor MICCL has been sold, or ever offered for sale, to anybody.†This begs the question of what exactly the trust is for since it was created ostensibly to arrange a sale of Ivanhoe's Burmese assets.

On page two of the letter however Macken reverts to claiming the trust “continues to hold the MICCL asset and is endeavouring to negotiate its sale to potential buyers.†CFOB Executive Director Tin Maung Htoo is not reassured by Macken's flip-flop “One moment Macken claims that nothing is being offered for sale and then on the next page he claims the trust is indeed ' endeavouring' to sell. From the very beginning we were concerned Ivanhoe created this 'trust' as a means to shield their Burmese investments from public scrutiny. Ivanhoe must disclose the full story about Monywa and their dealings with Burma's military regimeâ€.

Although the “open letter†signed by Ivanhoe CEO John Macken was dated April 8, Ivanhoe only emailed CFOB a copy on Wednesday April 22. The tardiness of the letter which follows a similar open letter sent earlier this year to CFOB again in reply to a CFOB press release, this first open letter was also sent to CFOB more than 10 days after it was dated.

CFOB board member Kevin McLeod is appalled by Ivanhoe's tactics “If Ivanhoe indeed wanted to inform us about the so called 'false claims' in our press release, why did they send us their 'Open letter' two weeks after they wrote it. Not much of an 'open letter' if they give it journalists who inquire about our press release and then don't actually send it us for a fortnight. Ivanhoe has never been forthcoming with regards to their Burmese activities and their secretive behaviour persists.â€

CFOB is unable to verify the level of operations presently at the Monywa copper mine due to the presence of heavily armed Burmese soldiers in the area. Ivanhoe's refusal to disclose any further details regarding Monywa's operation is a desperate attempt to make its Burmese fiasco go away. CFOB has received reliable reports that local farmers in the area have been unable to grow crops in their due to toxic leaching from the mine site.

In a previous Ivanhoe Mines “open letter†to CFOB dated January 20 2009 the firm demanded that CFOB “publicly produce information it claims to have of alleged environmental conditions in areas adjacent to the Monywa mineâ€. Due to the violent, paranoid and dictatorial nature of the Burmese regime, identifying specific farming areas or specific farmers who have been affected by toxic mining waste leaking from the mining site would put the affected farmers in grave danger. As an organization committed to the wellbeing of the people of Burma, the Canadian Friends of Burma will not hand over information to Ivanhoe Mines that would put innocent civilians at risk of arrest, torture, or worse. As evidenced by the treatment of their own Burmese chauffeur Ivanhoe has throughout their involvement in Burma shown a total disregard for the safety of Burmese civilians (Please see CFOB Press Release “Call for an investigation into Ivanhoe's jailed Burmese driverâ€).

Partnering with a violent military regime is of course what made investing in Burma such an attractive place for Ivanhoe Mines and its Chairman Robert Friedland in the first place. Mr. Friedland who has been burned in effigy in Mongolia by crowd of several thousand people, is known as Toxic Bob for his involvement in the infamous Summtiville gold mining mining disaster, the costliest American environmental mining disaster to date.

The full text of both of Ivanhoe's “Open Letters†to CFOB can be found on their website listed in their ridiculously titled “Truth and Lies†section. http://www.ivanhoe-mines.com/s/TruthandLies.asp

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