March 29: Ottawa: The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) welcomes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s (CPPIB) decision to sign on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).  The CFOB also strongly urges on Ivanhoe Mines to join the EITI and disclose matters related to the environment on its operations in Burma.

The CPPIB holds 2,859,000 units of shares from Ivanhoe Mines in the current Canadian market value of $38 million. CFOB is encouraged that the CPPIB has in the past expressed concerns about how environmental, social, and governance issues relate to its holdings in Ivanhoe Mines and encourages the CPPIB to continue to do so.  CFOB supporters are particularly concerned with Ivanhoe’s refusal to take responsibility for environmental impacts, because at least fourteen locations near the current operations have been identified as contaminated sites.

Within eight years of its operations, Ivanhoe has earned more than US$ 260 million in revenue and US$120 million in profit. This significant earning, however, is only 50% of the total profit generated from the Monywa Copper Project, since the same amount of earnings, is going to the coffers of the Burmese military junta, due to their 50/50 joint-venture. The military also received more than US$ 30 million for commercials tax, which is 30% on chopper sales, for the period between 2003 and 2006. Although Ivanhoe is said to have earmarked US$10 million for community development projects, it is still blurred on how the development fund is being used.

On Monday, March 26, 2007, the CPPIB announced it is becoming a signatory to EITI.  It stated that, disclosure is the key that allows investors to better understand, evaluate and assess potential risk and return.  It also said that through enhanced transparency companies that adopt the principles of EITI can reduce political and reputational risk.

“By signing onto EITI, the CPP Investment Board has showed that it is serious about public concerns on the matter of responsible investment,” said Tin Maung Htoo, Executive Director of Canadian Friends of Burma. “We hope this initiative will help persuade Ivanhoe Mines to disclose environmental and financial matters,” he added.

CFOB’s research indicates that the CPPIB holds shares in a number of Canadian and non-Canadian companies doing business in Burma.

Further contact:

Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB)
145 Spruce St. Suite 206
Ottawa, ON   K1R 6P1
Tel: (613) 237-8056

Mobile (613) 297-6835 – only for media-
Fax: (613) 563-0017