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Stone Mining at Kayin State Quarries to Commence Without MIC Approval, Necessary Assessments

Preparations are being made by Chit Lin Myaing Company to commence stone quarrying at several quarries in Lun Nya, Kayin State, to produce aggregate for building a highway connecting the region. However, the company had failed to consult or seek approval from the locals, said Ko Saw Thar Boe, one of the locals The Myanmar Times spoke to.

Chit Lin Myaing Company, which is backed by the Chinese, had told affected villagers that it had received approval to commence production at the quarry and a mutual agreement had been signed with the local authorities in October.

According to the agreement, villagers at the affected areas will receive benefits of K2,000 for each quarry mined and that production will be carried out for 3 years. A total of 130,000 quarries will be mined in a year, said Ko Saw Thar Boe.

However, he pointed that while “massive machines have already been set up at the quarries, no Environmental Impact Assessment had yet been conducted.” What’s more, warning gunshots were fired when locals ventured too close to the quarries with the intention of examining them, he said.

The locals said the State government seemed to be turning a blind eye towards the project and have made no effort to initiate discussions with the affected villagers.

As the stone quarrying activities to be conducted by Chit Lin Myaing Company constitutes a massive project, application must be made to Myanmar Investment Commission and the State government. However, an enquiry made to the MIC in Nay Pyi Taw revealed that the project had not been permitted, U Saw Thar Boe added.

“I asked them for documentations, but they couldn’t provide them,” he said.

As the highway is to be built from Kawkareik to Eindu, social and environmental assessments should be carried out on the construction process.

However, project officials have yet to notify of provide an explanation of their intended activities.

At Ka Maw Po village, situated near the stone production site, huge boulders have fallen near the vicinity of the houses. Meanwhile, village wells have collapsed, cracks have formed on houses and the machines are causing noise pollution.
The project could also interfere with existing small-scale quarries at Lun Nya, which has been providing jobs to the locals since 2007.

In fact, several companies have proposed large-scale industrial projects near the area since 2012 but they were all rejected or protested against. These include construction of a cement factory by an Indian company in 2012 and a separate attempt to start stone quarrying near Lun Nya in 2016.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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