Locals in northern Shan State’s Tangyan Township are concerned that ongoing coal mining in the area is creating conditions for the collapse of the land their village is built on, with cracks appearing in the soil near the digging sites.
The cracks are visible in the earth in Tat Lyet village in Ner Hok village tract, nine miles southwest of Tangyan town.
“Cracks have appeared in our village. We have never seen this before,” Sai Hseng, of Tat Lyet, told SHAN.
Villagers have reached out to parliamentarians to address the issue, which they say is caused by the removal of soil beneath their community in the search for coal.
“We have known about this coal mining problem for so long… The villagers sent a letter to us again. They requested that we solve this problem. We will try our best to solve this problem through the parliament,” Sai Wan Leng Kham, an MP for Lashio Constituency 3, told SHAN.
The mining company, whose name was not revealed, reportedly paid around 10 million kyat (US$7,100) in compensation to the owners of 11 homes—of Tat Lyet’s 73 households—after the cracks appeared near their houses. The owners are preparing to move, Sai Hseng said.
The mining company also gave the community 15 million kyat ($10,700) as compensation for having to move a spirit house integral to the village.
The coal mining is occurring around the upper Nam Pang stream, with locals worried that the continued digging will pollute the water source.
Villagers around Tangyan have long been opposed to coal mining in the area, and have been forced to sell their farmland, forest, and orchards around their villages to coal and rubber companies.