Copper mineralization has been known within the Monywa project area for centuries. The Buddhist monarchy extracted copper from shallow oxidized ore and its methods are evidenced by slag remnants in some of the village surround Sabetaung. In the mid-1950s, the Burma Geological Department and a survey team from Yugoslavia visited the area and recommended further study. From 1972 until 1975, the Japanese Overseas Technical Cooperation Agency financed a program of exploration and pilot plant studies leading to a feasibility study. Remnants of that early partnership are visible on the north side of the Kyisintaung Hill and include foundations from several mill structures, small waste rock areas, and a tailings pond. In June of 1978, an agreement for development of the Sabetaung Kyisintaung deposits was signed between ME 1 and the Bor Copper Institute of Yugoslavia. The program was funded in part by the government of Yugoslavia. Most of the facilities at the present site were designed and constructed through the Yugoslavian program and include the existing mine pits, the crushing plant and ore conveyor system, the flotation complex, the lime kiln and tailings pond. A permanent town, Mine Town, was built to house the mine workers and their families. In 1989, ME1 constructed and began operating a nearby, albeit off-site copper smelter. The smelter has not proven effective and has only been in operation on an intermittent basis.
With the involvement of IMHL in the previous Joint Venture, site investigations related to geological exploration, topographic surveying, and environmental assessment were initiated. The data for this report were obtained largely during site visits conducted from November 1994 through November 1995. The site visits allowed for detailed site reconnaissance including environmental sampling, photo-documentation of existing site conditions, and collection of data from local and regional specialists and Government officials.