Sagaing gold miners receive shut down warning


U OHN Win, Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, has warned companies involved in gold mining activities within the Sagaing Region township of Kawlin that their activities will be closed down should they be found responsible for having a negative impact on the environment, public health or society.
The remark by the minister was made in response to a question posed by U Myo Zaw Aung, member of Pyithu Hluttaw for Kawlin constituency, on Thursday during the twenty-sixth day of the first regular session of the Second Pyithu Hluttaw.
“It’s difficult to say exactly when all the side-effects of the use of chemicals being used [in gold mining activities] will come to pass. But with that being said, I met with the relevant director yesterday who instructed us to report on final findings at the end of this month of May. We have a responsibility to shut down these companies should it be found that their actions are having adverse affects on not only the environment, but also public health and society as a whole.” said Minister U Ohn Win.
The question asked by U Myo Zaw Aung was how the government would mitigate detrimental impacts to the environment by systematically conducting studies on adverse affects to environment and society caused by gold mining activities in the Kawlin township.
“Local residents have voiced that water and soil emitted from gold mining activities flows into surrounding farmlands whenever it rains, killing off their crops. Cows and buffaloes suffer from sores in their mouths from drinking this water and fish are also frequently dying. Residents are also suffering from breathing difficulties and throat related diseases. On top of this, home roofing regularly has to be replaced because of airborne particles.” stated U Myo Zaw Aung. Gold mining activities have been conducted in the aforementioned region for some three decades and while activities used to be under the control on the previous government power has since been transferred into the hands of one private company, it is known.

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