Date filed
14 September 2021
Countries of harm
Current status
Under review


On 14 September 2021, Publish What You Pay Australia, Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), and the Bawdwin Labour Union submitted a complaint against Australian mine developer Myanmar Metals (MYL) to NCP Australia. MYL holds a 51% interest in a joint venture to develop Bawdwin mine in northern Shan state, Myanmar. The complaint contends that MYL’s planned sale of its interest in late September 2021 to a Myanmar partner, Win Myint Mo Industries Co. Ltd (WMM), fails to meet the standards of responsible disengagement set out in the OECD Guidelines, in three key respects:

1. MYL has failed to conduct appropriate risk-based human rights due diligence in relation to the divestment, including by failing meaningfully to engage with stakeholders.
2. MYL has failed to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that may arise after the sale of its interest in the joint venture.
3. MYL has failed to be transparent in relation to its decision to disengage from the joint venture.

The Bawdwin mine presently consists of open pit, underground workings, and associated processing infrastructure. The mine has not been operated since 2009. The complainants are concerned that MYL’s irresponsible divestment risks facilitating development of the mine, likely leading to a range of adverse impacts caused by WMM or other business partners, the Myanmar military, ethnic armed groups, or other third parties. WMM does not have a track record of responsible business conduct nor a public human rights policy, and is linked to supporters of the previous military junta. The complainants fear that development of the mine would lead to an increased military presence to secure the area from ethnic armed groups, driving further conflict in the region that particularly impacts women and girls, who have already experienced rape and sexual violence connected to resource extraction in conflict areas in Shan State. The complainants are also concerned about the forced displacement of local communities to clear the way for mine activities. Finally, the complainants believe that if developed under the current regime in Myanmar, the Bawdwin mine would generate revenue for the military junta, thereby contributing to ongoing and severe human rights violations in the country.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


The outcomes sought by the complainants were revised following MYL’s November 2021 announcement of the sale of its interests in the Bawdwin mine. The complainants subsequently revised their sought outcomes, including for MYL to provide evidence of their comprehensive risk-based human rights due diligence in relation to its divestment, and for MYL to meaningfully engage with key stakeholders in relation to the same, particularly communities close to the mine.

In May 2022, NCP Australia stated that an alternative examiner had been appointed to consult with the parties and gather information.

On 29 August 2022, NCP Australia published its initial assessment accepting the complaint for further consideration. The NCP offered its good offices to the parties to contribute to the resolution of the issues raised in the complaint. According to the NCP, “The process would involve consideration of what constitutes appropriate human rights due diligence and disclosure in a conflict-affected area in order to achieve responsible disengagement consistent with the OECD Guidelines, and the legal and procedural frameworks to which they refer.” These considerations would take into account several factors, such as: “the enterprise’s size, sector, operational context, ownership and structure, the presence or absence of causal nexus, issues of linkage and the extent of leverage the enterprise had and may have.”

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