Around 30 trucks owned by a silica mining company had their route blocked as part of a protest against mining operations in northern Shan State on Thursday.
Local residents and members of both the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) – the region’s two main nationalist parties – brought the vehicles from the Ngwe Kabarkyaw company to a stop in Namhkam Township at around 4pm using a barricade in a protest against the mine projects in the region.
SNDP Secretary Sai Htun Hlaing said that locals were disappointed that their calls to halt silica mining operations had been ignored. Around 100 locals and members of the SNDP and SNLD were involved in the protest.
Kyaw Kyaw Htun, the administrative director of Muse District, under which jurisdiction Namhkam falls, arrived at the scene and convened a meeting at his office, during which he reportedly warned the mining operators to seek official permission before carrying out operations in the region in respect to public opinion.
The truck drivers were arrested and detained at the police station in Namhkam.
In September, thousands joined protests in Namhkam to campaign for a halt to mining operations. Local activists contend large-scale silica mining projects have resulted in permanent damage to streams and farmlands, ultimately ruining the livelihoods of thousands of people in the township.