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Home > Main Library > Environment > The environment of Burma/Myanmar > Human activity in the environment of Burma/Myanmar > Threats to the environment of Burma/Myanmar > Metal mining and other extractive operations

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Metal mining and other extractive operations

Individual Documents

Title: We Used to Fear Bullets - Now We Fear Bulldozers (Burmese မန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: October 2015
Description/subject: Dirty coal mining by military cronies & Thai companies, Ban Chaung, Dawei District, Myanmar.....Executive Summary: "This report was researched and written collaboratively by Dawei Civil Society Organizations and documents the environmental and social impacts of the Ban Chaung coal mining project in Dawei District of Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region. Based on desk research, interviews with villagers, and direct engagement with companies and government, it exposes how the project was pushed ahead despite clear opposition from the local community. It documents the serious harm that has already been done to villagers’ health, livelihoods, security, and way of life, and the devastating contamination of local rivers and streams. It calls for the suspension of Mayflower Mining Company’s permit and operations at Ban Chaung until this harm is remedied and the project is effectively evaluated, monitored, and regulated in compliance with Myanmar law and international best practice. It advocates that local villagers should be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own path to development. Formerly mired in conflict, resource-rich Tanintharyi Region is now opened up to foreign investment, and is threatened by a flood of dirty industrial projects including the massive Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and seven coal-fired power plants. Among these dirty projects is a coal mine in the Ban Chaung area of Dawei District. The project is located in a sensitive recent conflict zone, where administration and territory is contested between the Myanmar government and the ethnic armed resistance organization, the Karen National Union (KNU). Taking advantage of contested administration and weak governance in this area, Myanmar crony company Mayflower Mining used its high-level connections to begin coal mining operations without proper safeguards to protect human rights and the environment. The project was pushed ahead without an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local villagers. Mayflower Mining Company has a partnership with two companies from Thailand – East Star Company and Thai Asset Mining Company – that are operating on the ground in Ban Ban Chaung Coal Mining Report 2015 Chaung. Thai Asset has nearly completed building a road to transport Ban Chaung coal to the Theyet Chaung on the Tanintharyi coast, but its progress has been stalled due to a protest blockade by villagers. Meanwhile, East Star has already been operating a 60-acre open-pit mine at Khon Chaung Gyi village for more than three years, transporting nearly 500 tons of coal daily during the dry season according to local villagers. East Star has entered into a Joint Operating Agreement with Energy Earth Company, which will finance its mining operations and sell the coal on the market. May flower and its Thai partners plan to expand operations to mine for coal on at least 2,100 acres, threatening to take almost all of the local community’s agricultural land. Should it be allowed to expand, Ban Chaung coal mining would severely damage the health and livelihoods of approximately 16,000 villagers in the area, most of whom belong to the Karen ethnic group, and rely on fishing and farming. Indeed, many villagers are already suffering from increased pollution of air and water resources and land confiscations, of once productive agricultural land. East Star Company has dumped mining waste directly into the streams, causing fish to die off and local people to fall sick with troubling skin diseases. Uncontrolled coal fires, spontaneously combusting in waste and storage piles, have caused breathing problems in the community. An influx of outsiders along with the presence of the Myanmar military means local people no longer feel safe in their own villages. The project threatens the entire way of life of the indigenous Karen people of Ban Chaung, who have had their land passed down to them for generations. Although local people are overwhelmingly opposed to coal mining in their area, they were never given the chance to voice their concerns; only learning about the project once the bulldozers started digging on their land. Now, Ban Chaung villagers have joined together to challenge irresponsible coal mining in their area, and to call for alternative, democratic, and inclusive development in Tanintharyi Region."
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ), English
Source/publisher: Tarkapaw Youth Group, Dawei Development Association (DDA), and the Tenasserim River & Indigenous People Networks (Trip Net)
Format/size: pdf (3.9MB), pptx (7.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/TRIPN-2015-10-We_Used_to_Fear_Bullets-Now_We_Fear_Bulldozers-en-...
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Frankie-Abreu-COMMUNITY-DRIVEN_NATURAL-RESOURCE_MANAGEMENT-en.pp...
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2015


Title: We Used to Fear Bullets - Now We Fear Bulldozers (English)
Date of publication: October 2015
Description/subject: Dirty coal mining by military cronies & Thai companies, Ban Chaung, Dawei District, Myanmar.....Executive Summary: "This report was researched and written collaboratively by Dawei Civil Society Organizations and documents the environmental and social impacts of the Ban Chaung coal mining project in Dawei District of Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region. Based on desk research, interviews with villagers, and direct engagement with companies and government, it exposes how the project was pushed ahead despite clear opposition from the local community. It documents the serious harm that has already been done to villagers’ health, livelihoods, security, and way of life, and the devastating contamination of local rivers and streams. It calls for the suspension of Mayflower Mining Company’s permit and operations at Ban Chaung until this harm is remedied and the project is effectively evaluated, monitored, and regulated in compliance with Myanmar law and international best practice. It advocates that local villagers should be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own path to development. Formerly mired in conflict, resource-rich Tanintharyi Region is now opened up to foreign investment, and is threatened by a flood of dirty industrial projects including the massive Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and seven coal-fired power plants. Among these dirty projects is a coal mine in the Ban Chaung area of Dawei District. The project is located in a sensitive recent conflict zone, where administration and territory is contested between the Myanmar government and the ethnic armed resistance organization, the Karen National Union (KNU). Taking advantage of contested administration and weak governance in this area, Myanmar crony company Mayflower Mining used its high-level connections to begin coal mining operations without proper safeguards to protect human rights and the environment. The project was pushed ahead without an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local villagers. Mayflower Mining Company has a partnership with two companies from Thailand – East Star Company and Thai Asset Mining Company – that are operating on the ground in Ban Ban Chaung Coal Mining Report 2015 Chaung. Thai Asset has nearly completed building a road to transport Ban Chaung coal to the Theyet Chaung on the Tanintharyi coast, but its progress has been stalled due to a protest blockade by villagers. Meanwhile, East Star has already been operating a 60-acre open-pit mine at Khon Chaung Gyi village for more than three years, transporting nearly 500 tons of coal daily during the dry season according to local villagers. East Star has entered into a Joint Operating Agreement with Energy Earth Company, which will finance its mining operations and sell the coal on the market. May flower and its Thai partners plan to expand operations to mine for coal on at least 2,100 acres, threatening to take almost all of the local community’s agricultural land. Should it be allowed to expand, Ban Chaung coal mining would severely damage the health and livelihoods of approximately 16,000 villagers in the area, most of whom belong to the Karen ethnic group, and rely on fishing and farming. Indeed, many villagers are already suffering from increased pollution of air and water resources and land confiscations, of once productive agricultural land. East Star Company has dumped mining waste directly into the streams, causing fish to die off and local people to fall sick with troubling skin diseases. Uncontrolled coal fires, spontaneously combusting in waste and storage piles, have caused breathing problems in the community. An influx of outsiders along with the presence of the Myanmar military means local people no longer feel safe in their own villages. The project threatens the entire way of life of the indigenous Karen people of Ban Chaung, who have had their land passed down to them for generations. Although local people are overwhelmingly opposed to coal mining in their area, they were never given the chance to voice their concerns; only learning about the project once the bulldozers started digging on their land. Now, Ban Chaung villagers have joined together to challenge irresponsible coal mining in their area, and to call for alternative, democratic, and inclusive development in Tanintharyi Region."
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Tarkapaw Youth Group, Dawei Development Association (DDA), and the Tenasserim River & Indigenous People Networks (Trip Net)
Format/size: pdf (3.9MB), pptx (7.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/TRIPN-2015-10-We_Used_to_Fear_Bullets_Now_We_Fear_Bulldozers-bu-...
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Frankie-Abreu-COMMUNITY-DRIVEN_NATURAL-RESOURCE_MANAGEMENT-en.pp...
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2015


Title: Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Shwegyin Township, October 2014 to January 2015
Date of publication: 08 September 2015
Description/subject: "This Situation Update describes events and issues occurring in Shwegyin Township, Nyaunglebin District between October 2014 and January 2015, including gold mining, environmental damage, logging, militarisation, arbitrary taxation, and restrictions on villagers’ freedom of movement. It also describes the changing human rights situation during the ceasefire period. According to the report, the overall human rights situation is improving in Shwegyin Township compared to before the signing of the Jaunary 2012 preliminary ceasefire agreement between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burma/Myanmar government. However, villagers report still being concerned regarding ongoing human rights abuses, Tatmadaw presence in the area, and the stability of the current preliminary ceasefire..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (203K-reduced version; 586K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/KHRG-2015-09-08-Nyaunglebin_Situation_Update-Shwegyin_Township_O...

http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/15-22-s1.pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 September 2015


Title: Mergui-Tavoy Photo Set: The impact of development in Mergui-Tavoy District, May 2014
Date of publication: 04 February 2015
Description/subject: "This Photo Set shows natural resource extraction projects occurring in K’Ser Doh Township, Mergui-Tavoy District in May 2014. Lead and coal mining projects have damaged the surrounding environment, negatively affecting villagers’ livelihoods. Villagers in Hkay Ter village can no longer use the local river for their daily needs, as it has become muddy and polluted and at least one village has been displaced due to a coal mining project in Ka Neh Khaw village tract."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html, pdf (1.11MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/14-4-ps1_2.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/KHRG/KHRG%202015/KHRG-2015-02-04-Mergui-Tavoy_Photo_Set_The_impact_of_d...
Date of entry/update: 27 February 2015


Title: China plundering natural resources in Burma
Date of publication: 07 July 2010
Description/subject: China was variously described as plunderer and arch destroyer of Burma’s natural resources on the 38th World Environment Day today, by local people and environmental activists.Mindless logging and rampant mining in northern Burma by China for over two decades has led to widespread deforestation, pollution of rivers and land with Mercury used in gold mining. There is now varied ecological dysfunction that the country has to contend with. 060510-timber
Language: English
Source/publisher: Kachin News Group (KNG)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


Title: Environmental governance of mining in Burma
Date of publication: January 2007
Description/subject: Conclusion -- local participation and respected insiders: If there is one certainty of fair and effective local participation in environmental governance, it is that there is no universal monolithic system of rules, regulations and processes simply awaiting implementation and practice. Just as disparate copper-mining operations can differ vastly, so too do local potentialities for environmental governance participation (Medowcroft 2004; and, for a contrasting account, Leone and Giannini 2005). There are, however, two consistent features of effective local participation in environmental governance: it must involve local people and have, to some degree, cooperation and support from relevant institutions and stakeholders. That is, it’s a multi-stakeholder affair, and moreover one that presupposes the recognition of the right to organise. Environmental conflict resolution is a tool for recourse and ‘for building common purpose’ between stakeholders (O’Leary et al. 2004:324). Scholars note the importance of understanding the many varieties of environmental conflict resolution interventions ‘as complex systems embedded in even larger complex systems’ (O’Leary et al. 2004:324). In other words, the wider spatial, temporal, economic, social, cultural and political contexts of the specific environmental conflict resolution are relevant for building common purpose between stakeholders. In Burma, conflict resolution is undertaken quite differently from dominant Western models. EarthRights International conducted research for five years on traditional methods of conflict resolution and its relationship to resource-based conflict at the local level in Burma. That research resulted in Traditions of Conflict Resolution in Burma (Leone and Giannini 2005), which argues that conflict resolution in Burma is based more on interpersonal respect and a tradition of local ‘respected insiders’ than on assumptions of the objectivity of ‘third-party outsiders’. Whereas official administrative and court-based proceedings provide a level of comfort and trust to the Western sensibility, these are the very institutions and processes that might cause local villagers in Burma to feel uncomfortable and distrustful. The report contends that ‘the prospects for peace and earth rights protection’ hinge on this respected insider model, adding that such respected insider ‘practices may serve as models for communitybased natural resource management’ (Leone and Giannini 2005:1–2). Effective local participation in environmental governance in Burma will necessarily involve a unique tradition-based paradigm developed by local Burmese themselves. While third-party outsiders are less likely to gain genuine traction in communities in Burma, this is not meant to undermine the need for objective third-party EIAs and environmental monitoring at largescale mining operations such as Monywa. Rather, it simply indicates the unique needs that must be considered for fair and effective local participation in environmental governance of mining in Burma. While administrative and judicial proceedings can make the average Burmese villager uncomfortable, the same cannot be said for the rule of law and justice (which are largely absent in Burma), which will be accepted wholly by the average Burmese, particularly by those whose human rights have been violated. As Tun Myint (2003) has suggested, the successes and failures of environmental governance are determined largely by how natural resources are used and managed at the local level. This chapter approached a genuine inquiry into the state of environmental governance of mining in Burma motivated by a genuine concern for the natural environment and the people of Burma who depend on it. It interpreted current environmental governance of mining natural resources in Burma as largely inadequate, weak and ostensibly favourable to corporate interests over the public interest and the natural environment. Burma’s economic, social, cultural, political and environmental future depends on changing this.
Author/creator: Matthew Smith
Language: English
Source/publisher: 2006 Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
Format/size: pdf (144K)
Date of entry/update: 30 December 2008


Title: Spaces of extraction -- Governance along the riverine networks of Nyaunglebin District
Date of publication: January 2007
Description/subject: "Contemporary maps prepared by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) place most of Nyaunglebin District in eastern Pegu Division. Maps drawn by the Karen National Union (KNU), however, place much of the same region within the western edge of Kaw Thoo Lei, its term for the ‘free state’ the organisation has struggled since 1948 to create. Not surprisingly, the district’s three townships have different names and overlapping geographic boundaries and administrative structures, particularly in remote regions of the district where the SPDC and the KNU continue to exercise some control. These competing efforts to assert control over the same space are symptomatic of a broader concern that is the focus here, namely: how do conflict zones become places that can be governed? What strategies and techniques are used to produce authority and what do they reveal about existing forms of governance in Burma? In considering these questions, this chapter explores the emergence of governable spaces in Shwegyin Township, which comprises the southern third of Nyaunglebin District (Figure 11.1)..."
Author/creator: Ken MacLean
Language: English
Source/publisher: 2006 Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
Format/size: pdf (357K)
Date of entry/update: 30 December 2008


Title: Grave Diggers: A report on Mining in Burma
Date of publication: 14 February 2000
Description/subject: A report on mining in Burma. The problems mining is bringing to the Burmese people, and the multinational companies involved in it. Includes an analysis of the SLORC 1994 Mining Law.... 'Grave Diggers, authored by world renowned mining environmental activist Roger Moody, was the first major review of mining in Burma since the country's military regime opened the door to foreign mining investment in 1994. Singled out for special attention in this report is the stake taken up by Canadian mining promoter Robert Friedland, whose Ivanhoe Mines has redeveloped a major copper mine in the Monywa area in joint venture enterprise with Burma's military regime. There are several useful appendices with first hand reports from mining sites throughout the country. A series of maps shows the location of the exploration concessions taken up almost exclusively by foreign companies in the rounds of bidding that took place in the nineties.
Author/creator: Roger Moody
Language: English
Source/publisher: Various groups
Format/size: pdf (1.2MB)
Date of entry/update: 09 September 2010