Mandalay government to lay down the law on illegal gem mining in Mogok township
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.’
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
Gems are displayed for sale at a market in Mogok.