MP wants authorities to monitor illegal gold and amber mines in Tanai, Hpakant

    A lawmaker has urged the Union government and state government to monitor illegal gold and amber mines in Tanai and Hpakant townships in Kachin State.

    The proposal was submitted by MP U Lin Lin Oo from Tanai township on July 13 to the Pyithu Hluttaw.

    “To prevent (revenue) losses for the nation, there is an urgent need to resolve illegal gold mines in villages in Hpakant township and illegal gold and amber mines in Tanai township,” he told the Pyithu Hluttaw.

    But the supervision should be carried out by the Ministry of Resources and Environmental Conservation and the state government only, he added.

    After Tatmadaw cleared illegal mines from the area, clashes broke out between Tatmadaw and KIA/KIO, forcing residents to flee their villages. For that reason, this issue should be handled only by the union-level ministry and the state government, he added.

    “It is not totally right to solve the problem by using the military,” he said.

    He wants the clearing of illegal mines to be carried out without impacting the stability of the area. In June, clashes erupted between Tatmadaw and KIA/KIO that led several thousand residents and migrant workers to flee their properties, according to his presentation.

    Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Tin Soe from Hpakant township who seconded the proposal said, “This issue should be dealt only by the Union government’s decision after armed troops present it to the Union government.”

    On June 5, Tatmadaw dropped leaflets over the mines and instructed people who have lived in the mines to leave before June 15, he said.

    When fights break out in the area, only residents are exposed to troubles, he said, therefore, illegal mines should be granted official permission for mining and job opportunities should be created for residents.

    Illegal gold mining has been operating in Hpakant since the 2000s and Lisu people started amber mining in Tanai township in 2007. Illegal mining was rampant by 2014 and the migrant population has reached about 500,000 people.

    “People from at least 10 gold mines in the area and residents from nearby villages left their properties to escape the fighting,” said U Tin Soe.

    Translation by Zar Zar Soe