Chins say nickel mine too opaque

Chins say nickel mine too opaque

Chin civic groups and politicians have demanded full public disclosure of the scope and impact of the Mwe Taung nickel mine, fearing that the environmental and social impacts may be far more severe than current data predicts.

Research by civil society groups found that goelogical studies show the site, located on the border between Tedim, Chin State, and Kale of Sagaing Division, could yield up to 17,000 tonnes of pure nickel annually.

Chin civil society groups issued a letter to parliament, claiming that the findings of experts, local observers and Chin political figures are cause for serious concern and should be addressed in a parliamentary session. Concerned parties demanded that the government provide more information about the mine operators, impacts and compensation schemes, as many villagers claim to have been displaced.

Chin Mountain Resources Watch Group facilitated a meeting between civilians and MPs in Naypyidaw on 23 March, allowing those affected to express grievances and devise an appropriate course of action.

Steven Thar Beik, an upper house MP from Chin State, vowed to raise the issue on the national level.

Villagers say they hope some degree of transparency will eventually result from their campaigning; last year four Chin political parties also publicly criticised the project for lacking transparency and providing insufficient land compensation and benefit distribution.

Villagers have to date received little assurance from either the government or corporate partners.

Reports by civil society groups say that the project is a collaboration between two Chinese firms, Zijin Mining Group and Wanbao, though neither firm was available for comment and little information about the project exists beyond statements issued by locals, demanding more transparency.

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