Hands tied on mines

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources says it is pow­er­less against il­le­gal min­ing op­er­a­tions on the Kachin State bor­der, an area not un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion.

IL­LE­GAL Chi­nese gold min­ers in Tanai dis­trict, Kachin State, are be­yond the reach of gov­ern­ment le­gal ac­tion, the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion has ad­mit­ted. U Than Daing, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the min­istry’s No 2 Min­ing En­ter­prise, told The Myan­mar Times that the zone in ques­tion was not un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion.

He spoke af­ter a se­ries of raids had been car­ried out by the armed forces, in which a dozen for­eign cit­i­zens, be­lieved to be Chi­nese, were ar­rested and nearly 60 heavy ve­hi­cles and other equip­ment used for min­ing were seized. The equip­ment in­cluded rafts and drilling rigs used in gold min­ing.

The raid was re­ported in the mil­i­tary owned Myawady news­pa­per on Au­gust 6, which de­scribed the ar­rested in­di­vid­u­als as for­eign­ers. U Than Daing said the men were Chi­nese.

He de­scribed that part of Kachin State, near the Chi­nese bor­der, as “not peace­ful”, adding that trans­porta­tion was very dif­fi­cult. The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion had there­fore not des­ig­nated the zone as a gold-min­ing site for those rea­sons, and any min­ing that was be­ing con­ducted there was out­side its con­trol.

The min­istry has granted per­mits to 10 firms for small-scale gold min­ing op­er­a­tions in Tanai town­ship, in­clud­ing seven in Minekone vil­lage, two be­tween Minekon and Nanpu vil­lage and one in Shin­veyan area. None of those were in­volved in the seizures and ar­rests car­ried out by the armed forces, he said.

“The com­pa­nies tar­geted in the seizures are Chi­nese firms who have paid the Kachin In­de­pen­dence Army to mine gold un­of­fi­cially along the bor­der. The min­istry did not grant them per­mits, and can­not take le­gal ac­tion against them,” said U Than Daing.

In­be­tween the vil­lages of Don­ban and Shadu­zou, the armed forces ar­rested four for­eign cit­i­zens and seized 13 back­hoes, three 22-wheel ve­hi­cles, one 10-wheel ve­hi­cle and two rafts on July 28. Two more back­hoes, three six-wheel ve­hi­cles, and two rafts were seized on July 30 and five rafts were seized on July 31. On Au­gust 2, two 10-wheel ve­hi­cles, 17 back­hoes, three 22-wheel ve­hi­cles and 13 rafts were seized along with eight for­eign­ers, ac­cord­ing to mil­i­tary-owned Myawady news­pa­per on Au­gust 6.

Kachin State Chief Min­is­ter U Khet Aung in­vited lo­cal res­i­dents to re­port to the au­thor­i­ties any ev­i­dence of il­le­gal min­ing or dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment in the state. “We will take ac­tion on any such re­port we re­ceive,” he said.

The chief min­is­ter said the au­thor­i­ties were work­ing on a draft re­gional eco­nomic pol­icy, and would take into ac­count the views of lo­cal res­i­dents about the use of re­sources.

‘We will take ac­tion on any re­port we re­ceive. ’ U Khet Aung Kachin State chief min­is­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.