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Sepon copper reinforcing Lao culture

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  • Buddha in Ban Namchalo

    The bronze used to cast this new Buddha image in Ban Namchalo was made using Sepon copper

A Buddha image in Savannakhet Province is the latest in a series of items of cultural and national significance made from Sepon copper.

The two metre high Buddha image is located in Namchalo Village, Vilabouly district, close to the Sepon mine.  The image was funded by contributions from MMG LXML Sepon and its employees, and was blessed in a ceremony on 2 February attended by senior government officials.   

Since 2008, MMG LXML Sepon has donated over 17 tonnes of copper for important cultural symbols including the spire of Vientiane City Pillar Shrine, national emblems at the National Assembly and Presidential Palace, and several Buddha images.

Eight tonnes of copper – the largest single donation – was also provided in 2010 for the Chao Anouvong statue in Vientiane.  

“Archaeologists working at the mine have traced artefacts throughout Asia made from Sepon copper at least two thousand years ago,” said Saman Aneka, Director of MMG LXML Sepon.  “We are extremely proud that our Lao copper, which is made by Lao people, is still being used today for cultural and national symbols,” he said.

Since 2005, over 660,000 tonnes of copper has been produced at Sepon.  Most is sold in neighbouring countries to manufacturers of copper wire, cable and pipes.  The mine also produces gold doré, which are bars containing gold and small quantities of silver. 

Sepon copper is 99.99 per cent pure and classified as ‘Grade A’ by the London Metal Exchange, a leading global centre for the trading of industrial metals.  The purity of Sepon copper means that it does not require further refining before being used in manufacturing.

Sepon copper cathodes are on permanent display at the National Museum in Vientiane and in the Savannakhet Provincial Museum, in recognition of the Sepon mine’s contribution to national development.   During 2013 the mine will celebrate ten years of production and a billion dollars of revenue generated for Laos. 

Another large Buddha image made from Sepon copper will be unveiled in Savannakhet province later this year.