Eastern Shan State residents have opposed the project since meeting company reps last year, saying it will destroy 140,000 acres of paddy fields.
Residents of eastern Shan State’s Mong Hpyak Township agreed on Monday to send a petition to the Union government in protest of a proposed gold mining project in their area.
The gold extraction project will unearth more than 140,000 acres of paddy field, which prompted locals—including community elders and members of parliament—to hold a July 23 meeting in Mong Hpyak town. It was there that the idea of the statement was agreed upon.
“We have opposed this project and already sent letters to the state government—there has been no response from them,” Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) township chairman Sai Kham Zang told SHAN, referring to a statement sent in October of last year.
Australian company Access Resources Asia Co. Ltd. currently has permission to mine for gold in Mong Hpyak. Representatives of Access Resources Asia held meetings with locals in August and December of last year and January 2018 to discuss the project.
In all three meetings, community members said they opposed the gold mining venture, citing a negative impact to 13 village tracts in the township through the destruction of paddy fields and pollution to local waterways.
“The company has recently checked the area and kicked off testing for possible extraction. We have heard that the government has allowed it, and that’s why we are […] collecting the names of local people [against the project] and will send a letter with these signatures to the Union government soon,” Sai Kham Zeng explained.
“We are so worried about the future,” the SNLD township chairman added. “If the government doesn’t stop this project, we will continue to oppose it using whatever ways we can.”