Posted in Community, News, On storyLast week, Lane Xang Minerals Limited Sepon Mine (LXML) handed twelve hectares expanded rice paddies field to six families from Vangnang village near Sepon Mine, Vilabouly District, Savannakhet Province where LXML operates its copper and gold operation. These expanded rice paddies will provide the opportunity for the poorest families to improve their yields, rice quality and productivity and eventually for commercial purpose in the future.“As outlined in the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, Lao PDR prioritized green growth in its long-term agriculture and forestry development strategy and it focuses on agricultural quality, food security and safe products” said Mr Saman Aneka, LXML Managing Director. “Our support represents an important step in that effort, that will provide a permanent land for villagers to plant rice for self-sustaining based and commercial purposes and consequently reduce illegal logging and deforestation, enhance the sustainable livelihood and wellbeing of our host community.”Rice paddies that can be cultivated in the rainy season covers an area of 4,870 hectares of land producing 17,045 tonnes of rice per year. While the Vilabouly Agriculture and Forestry Office has provided technical support and improved rice seeds, rice productivity is not enough for commercial purpose due to the limited land area available for this purpose.The expanded rice paddies handed to the families represents corresponds to the actual needs of the community and the current socio-economic situation. These expanded rice paddies are funded through LXML’s Community Development Trust Fund, which has delivered benefits to the local communities around Sepon Mine for over fifteen years. Since 2003, the annual fund has increased significantly over the years from US$96,000 to US$750,000 per year, and this contribution will continue until the Sepon mining operation is closed for at least another ten years.To date, US$9.5 million has been invested in the Community Development Trust Fund focused on improving the basic infrastructure, community health, education for next generation, and food security (cash crop). The Trust Fund assists the government in supporting, and developing the local communities surrounding the Sepon mine, in order to improve the living conditions and create better livelihoods for LXML’s host community..Moving forwards, LXML through its Community Development Trust Fund will support Vilabouly District’s effort in expanding more land to make rice, cash crops, and produce farming more productive and profitable.“Families receiving the land today should take the ownership in caring and making use of their lands for optimal benefits” said Mr Khamphouy Sibounheuang, Vilabouly Governor.The handover ceremony was chaired by Vilabouly Governor Mr Khamphouy Sibounheuang, Deputy Head of Vilabouly Agriculture and Forestry Office Mr Bounxay Xayalin, LXML Managing Director Mr Saman Aneka with the presence of district and village representatives, land owners and surrounding villagers.Photo: Vilabouly Governor Mr Khamphouy Sibounheuang (second from right in front) Deputy Head of Vilabouly Agriculture and Forestry Office Mr Bounxay Xayalin, LXML Managing Director Mr Saman Aneka, district and village representatives, land owners and surrounding villagers at the handover ceremony in Pougpor Village, Vilabouly District, Savannakhet Province on 12 February 2020.