Protestors, mining conglomerate fail to forge deal during talks

Protestors, mining conglomerate fail to forge deal during talks

Talks between protesting employees at the Moehti Moemi gold mine and representatives from the government and the Myanmar National Prosperity Public Company Limited (NPPCL) failed to yield any tangible results yesterday.

Protest leader Aung Gyi said the meeting took place at Pyinmataw Monastery in Yamethin township, where the gold mine is located, but talks ended without an agreement being reached.

“There was no conclusion from the negotiations because the (NPPCL)’s chairman was absent,” said Aung Gyi.

“The company’s representatives said they will absolutely not give us permission to return to the mountain – we cannot work there anymore – and we proposed that we want to be compensated.”

On 23 November, four employees from Moehti Moemi gold mine  were arrested while marching to Naypyidaw to protest a government order that closed their mines.

On 30 November, the arrested miners stood in court in Pegu Division’s Yedashe township after being charged with sedition.

The four protestors are due back in court today for their next hearing.

Employees from the Moehti Moemi gold mine have been staging protests throughout the summer after the Mining Ministry ordered them to close down their mines.

The move followed a government decision that awarded a large tender to the NPPCL, which effectively allows the company to operate in the areas previously occupied by smaller mining operations.

The miners from Mandalay division decided to march to Naypyidaw after a protest in early November in front of the NPPCL’s headquarters in Rangoon failed to yield any results.

Yesterday’s meeting was joined by officials from government’s Mining Ministry including deputy-manager Khin Pe of the Mining Department and Yamethin township’s Lower House member Bo Ni.

Following the talks, authorities ordered the protesters to leave the monastery where the meeting was held at once.

“Frankly, I see that there is no law to protect those who are in anguish,” said Aung Gyi. “Our leaders were beaten up and arrested and there is no law to protect us. If we continue our [rally], we will face another crackdown and more people will be charged.”

According to a previous agreement, if talks between the protestors and the NPCCL failed in Yamethin, then further negotiations would be held in Naypyidaw with the Mining Ministry director and the deputy-minister. However, no announcement concerning a future round of talks was made following yesterday’s meeting.

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