Locals make 4 demands related to mining operation of Balae Kha Boi Mountain in Ma Gyi village

August 7, 2020

HURFOM: Myanmar Shwe Aykarit Mining Company Ltd has plans to conduct exploratory mining at Balae Kha Boi Mountain in Ma Gyi village, southern Ye Township, Mon State, to assess its development potential of natural resources.

In response a local community based organization, called Mon Area Community Development Organization (MACDO) and local youth have cooperated to release a report titled “Socioeconomic Research in Balae Kha Boi”.

To discuss their report, local residents traveled to the Mon State Parliament on August 5 to meet with lawmakers.

The  group is calling for 4 things.  i) For Myanmar Shwe Aykarit Mining Company Ltd., to withdraw their mining operations from their area. ii) To allow customary land tenure on their lands. iii)  To investigate ties between the  village authority and the company for alleged unlawful land trades. iv)  That lawmakers provide help to solve land disputes.

When coming to buy land, the company didn’t call all the landowners. They only called one person and let him escort them to see all the land. And they just (secretly) sold and bought the land. The company said an acre of land was priced from 3 to 7.5 million kyat but when they bought the land, they just gave 1.2 million per acre. Villagers are divided on the land issue. Then, the company did a land survey themselves without a surveyor clerk. So we want lawmakers to investigate these unlawful actions and support us with help,” said a Ma Gyi resident.

Lawmakers suggested Ma Gyi residents apply for a Land Use Certificate Form #7 for their land and not to trade land at the moment.

An official of MACDO said, “If we introduce our report just in Ye, it won’t be effective. So we’ve decided to do it at the parliament. We can send our message directly to lawmakers at the parliament. And this issue is not one we should tolerate. That’s why we chose to first introduce our report at the parliament.

According to the report, local residents rely on the mountain for their plantation work, water resources and fishing industry.  The mountain plays a key role in their livelihood. They are worried mining operations could destroy the mountain and even lead to heavy wind and rains no longer being blocked by the mountain.  On top of these concerns, they worry their natural resources in the land will be lost.

This mountain is the one on which nearly all villages have to rely on. Nearly all villages get water resources from the mountain. If something happens to the mountain, there will be a huge impact on us,” said a Ma Gyi resident.

Myanmar Shwe Aykarit Mining Company Ltd has not held any information sessions explaining their mining plans, nor have they requested prior consent from the local residents.

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