The mining sector in Burma continues to receive flak, with protestors taking to the streets in Wetthay and Phetshay villages in Thabeikkyin, Mandalay.
On 30 August, the villagers protested against the encroaching mining activities on village land and the displacement of more than 150 households. Aimed at gold mining companies such as Myanmar Golden Pwint, Shwe Pyi Thar and Htarwarra, along with other metal mining companies in the region, the protestors condemned the breaching of boundary lines by these companies and expanding mining activities onto legally recognized village land.
The Ministry of Home Affairs legally recognised Wethay and Phetshay, along with 22 other areas, as villages on 20 January 2010, “restricting mining activities in these regions.”
Local resistance and protests are increasing with the mining industry steadily acquiring a notorious reputation for neglecting and not adhering to agreements. Earlier in May, Yamethin Township witnessed a protest over the Moehti Moemi mines, regarding the arrest of 10 miners.
The rally witnessed a clash between security forces and protestors, who expressed dissent against the mining activities that they said, were “illegal, with damaging consequences to the environment in the vicinity.” The adverse effects of gold mining in Mandalay are widespread, with serious occupational hazards such as “drillers disease” on the rise .
The protest also stems in the face of the Burmese government overlooking the detrimental side of the mining industry. A report published by EarthRights International sheds light on the policy loophole that continues to exist in the mining sector in Burma.