Man­dalay govern­ment to lay down the law on il­le­gal gem min­ing in Mo­gok town­ship

The Myanmar Times - - Business - KYAW KO KO kyawkoko@mm­times.com

MAN­DALAY Re­gion govern­ment will clean up the gem min­ing in­dus­try in Mo­gok town­ship, a se­nior of­fi­cial pledged last week.

U Myo Thit, the min­is­ter for re­sources and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion said he was meet­ing with se­nior of­fi­cials in Shan State on Septem­ber 10, to carry out group in­spec­tions of mines in Mo­gok town­ship close to Momeik in neigh­bor­ing Shan state.

“We will have to rein this in, and not have these il­le­gal mines con­tin­u­ously run­ning,” he said.

“If we at­tempt to shut down il­le­gal gem mines in Mo­gok town­ship, we will have to go through from the Momeik side be­cause trans­porta­tion is not good on the Mo­goke side.”

As well as clos­ing those without a li­cence, the govern­ment will be seek­ing to im­prove the en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards of min­ers op­er­at­ing legally, U Myo Thit added.

‘We will have to rein this in, and not have these il­le­gal mines con­tin­u­ously run­ning.’

Man­dalay govern­ment

He said the min­istry had re­cently spo­ken to eight le­gal mine com­pa­nies in Mo­goke, whose op­er­a­tions were af­fect­ing farm­land near Kin Creek Bridge.

“The Union min­is­ter came and looked at the de­struc­tion at the bot­tom of the bridge that had oc­curred be­cause of the sed­i­ment flow­ing along the creek,” he said. “He told eight of­fi­cial gem mines near the bridge that they had to halt their mines and to re­plant trees on the land af­ter min­ing the area to re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as much as they can.”

A fol­low-up in­spec­tion would oc­cur in Novem­ber, ac­cord­ing to U Myo Thit.

Large-scale per­mits for gem min­ing are han­dled by the Union govern­ment, while the re­gional govern­ment could is­sue li­cences for medium to small-scale mines, the Man­dalay min­is­ter said, adding that the re­gional govern­ment would pri­ori­tise per­mits for res­i­dents within the re­gion.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

U Myo Thit

Photo: Zay Yar Linn

Gems are dis­played for sale at a mar­ket in Mo­gok.

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