Australia politics live: Perth and WA’s south-west enter Covid lockdown; media companies plead guilty to breaching George Pell court order

By Mostafa Rachwani (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

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An ASX-listed mining company that is pursuing projects in Myanmar has gone into a trading halt after its shares fell nearly 18% on news of the country’s army seizing control and detaining key ruling party leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar Metals, a Perth-based company, wrote to the ASX on Monday to request an immediate trading halt “pending an announcement regarding the political situation in Myanmar”.

When approached by Guardian Australia for comment, the company responded with the following statement:

Myanmar Metals Limited is closely monitoring the unfolding events in Myanmar and hopes for a quick and peaceful resolution. Our priority is the safety of our people in Myanmar. We intend to provide an update to our shareholders once we have enough information to do so.

The developments come just days after Myanmar Metals announced the start of drilling as part of the Bawdwin joint venture exploration project, in which it has a 51% interest.

Figures published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade indicate Australian goods exports to Myanmar were worth $162m in 2018, led by wheat and medical products. The same year, Australia imported $42m in goods from Myanmar, including travel goods and bags, seafood and clothing.

Earlier today, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, described the military’s attempt to seize control as “rather disturbing developments”. The foreign minister, Marise Payne, also expressed deep concern and called on the army to respect the rule of law and release detained civilian leaders.

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