EARTH Thailand

Dawei villagers seek president’s help to stop Banchaung coal mine

Myanmar Times 09 May 2018 | Myat Moe Aung

Over 500 local people urged President U Win Myint on Monday to stop the operations of Banchaung coal mine in Dawei township, Tanintharyi Region, according to Tarkapaw youth group and the Banchaung community’s sustainable environmental conservation committee.

The residents will send a letter to ministries and departments to press their demand to halt the mine’s operations. 

They decried the impact of the coal mine on air and water quality in nearby villages and requested the halt of mining in the letter.

The villagers said that while Banchaung coal mine – operated by Thailand’s Energy Earth PCL, East Star Co. and Thai Asset Mining Co. and Myanmar’s May Flower Co. – has stopped operations temporary, the coal left in the area continues to burn, emitting choking black smoke and polluting the rivers.

“People are not in good health. We want the mine to stop forever,” said U Saw Tin Oo, head of Banchaung community’s sustainable environmental conservation committee.

Around 16,000 people living in 22 villages in Banchaung are adversely affected by the operations of the coal mine. They also accused the companies of encroaching on farmlands, but The Myanmar Times could not independently verify their allegations. 

The residents filed a complaint with the Thailand Human Rights Commission in June 2017 and complained to the government in 37 letters before the temporary stop of the mine’s operations, according to Tarkapaw youth group in Dawei.