Dawei residents up in arms over coal-mining project

20 October 2014 | Eleven Myanmar

Source: http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&i...

Dawei residents have rejected a coal-mining project being operated in the Kwunechaung village of Ban Chaung region, Dawei Township of Tanintharyi Region.

The project was jointly carried out by Thailand’s Easter Company and local company May Flower Mining Enterprises.

The residents sent an objection letter on October 17 to the director at the Ministry of Mines in Nay Pyi Taw.

The letter stated that the two companies had started their coal-mining tasks in Ban Chaung region since the beginning of 2011. However, they had not bothered to inform local residents about the advantages and disadvantages of the mining operation before starting the project. The companies have been accused of having no environmental consideration for the lives and properties of local people.

They said though loose soil and polluted water from the coal-mining project had reached the residents’ farmland, the two companies were not taking responsibility.

According to the rural-based environmental conservation report surveyed by Wildlife Conservation Society-WCS, Ban Chaung region in Dawei Township is rich in natural resources and biodiversity and residents are now depending on those resources and biodiversity.

“We have not accepted coal-mining industry in our region. Since the beginning of the project, they [companies] did not ask our views on the project. The present companies are embarking on the mining after buying more than 60 acres of land. If there is a fire in a coal mine, how are they going to deal with it? Who will take responsibility? We, the local residents, are now living near the project. The residents are drinking polluted water flowing into the creek. The polluted water may be harmful not only to local residents but also to the environment,” said Saw Tin Oo from Bann Chaung region.

The local people in Myittar sub-township in Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region, also sent protest letters to the government against the proposal of 24 Hour Mining & Industry Co Ltd for a coal-mine project on September 6.