500 locals in Paung Township protest environmentally destructive stone mining project

June 14, 2017

HURFOM: On June 12th2017, approximately 500 locals from Oak Tan Tar (Ouktada) village, Paung Township, Mon State,held a demonstration against Long Life Aggregate Mining Company (LLAMC) Ltd., demanding an end to their stone mining project onthe nearby Kalarma mountain.

According to nearby residents, LLAMC’s ongoing stone mining operations have led to the destruction of local resources including streams and paddy fields, as well as rubber and other plantations.

The main thing is water resources. Because of the byproducts of them [LLAMC], the streams have been blocked and we can’t plant paddy in the summer. The streams that provide water to the locals have also been destroyed,” said Daw Thi Dar who led the protest.

Kalarma has an approximate height of 3,000 feet and LLMC operates their mining project at an altitude of 1,500 feet. Soil and stone remnantsfrom the company’s operations are discarded in the mountain’s creeks, blocking and damaging streams locals rely on for access to water resources. Two streams have already been destroyed and the local residents have had to drill a well in order to access water resources from underground.

Locals also rely on Kalarma mountain for other aspects of their livelihoods, gathering bamboo shoots and seasonal fruits and vegetables from the mountain, according to one local.

There is no responsibility or accountability. We’ve filed a report to the authoritiesregarding the destroyed paddy fields and streams, but they denied that it was their fault. Moreover, their project is also unlawful [as they hadn’t followed proper legal procedures]. They can do the project only after getting an agreement from the locals. Now, even the village administrator doesn’t know where they got permission from; they’re above the law,” said Daw Thi Dar.

Protesters demanded the protection of Kalarma mountain, calling for the end of stone mining near their community, as well as an end to the destruction and degradation of water and livelihood resources. The protesters marched from the main road of Oak Tan Tar village to the local LLAMC office.

U Tin Tun Nyne, a protest leader, said that even though they have organized protests three times to stop the project, there has been no reply from LLAMC to date, so they will continue their protests until the stone mining project is terminated.

Locals have previously organized protests calling on LLAMC to end their stone mining operations twice before in June and October 2016.

For more information on the environmental impacts of mining and other development projects, see HURFOM’s July 2016 report: Examining Foreign Direct Investment In Mon State.

 

 

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