Burma Partnership, Strengthening Cooperation for a Free Burma
Signup Now!
Join our mailing list for latest news and information about Burma.

Local Communities Launch Campaign against Thai Coal Mine and Power Plant in Eastern Shan State

By Hark Mong Kok  •  July 21, 2011

Impacted communities today launched a campaign to oppose plans by Thai investors to develop a coal mine and power plant in conflict-ridden eastern Shan State.

The campaign briefer Save Mong Kok From Coal, published in Thai, English, Shan and Burmese, blasts construction giant Ital-Thai’s plans to develop an open-pit lignite mine and coal-fired power plant in Mong Kok, 40 kilometers north of the Chiang Rai border, to import coal and power to Thailand.

Thai workers began construction work on the power plant in April 2011, bulldozing farmlands of three Shan villages, which had been ordered to move by Burmese military authorities a month earlier. A mere 20,000 kyat (under USD 20) per acre of land was offered as compensation.

Ital-Thai has agreements with the Burmese regime to extract 1.5 million tons of coal a year from Mong Kok for 10 years and to construct a 405 MW power plant to sell 369 MW to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand over 25 years.

Ital-Thai is relying on the Burma Army to provide security for the project, which lies in an active war zone, where the Shan State Army-South and Burmese troops clash regularly. Ongoing abuses, including forced labour, by the Burmese troops, have caused half of the original 2,000 Shan, Akha and Lahu inhabitants of Mong Kok to flee the area.

“Burmese soldiers, their families and police now outnumber the native population of Mong Kok,” states the campaign briefer, published by the “Hark Mong Kok” group (Shan for “Love Mong Kok”).

Thai communities held protests in 2010 against plans to import coal from Mong Kok through scenic Mae Fah Luang district of Chiang Rai, and are continuing resistance against plans to shift the transport route through Mae Sai. They are also concerned about pollution of the Kok River, which flows from Mong Kok into Thailand, a vital water source for countless northern Thai communities and a famous tourist attraction.

Local Thai authorities, academics and activists are today holding a public forum at Wat Jat Yot (Temple), Chiang Rai about the impacts of the Mong Kok project entitled Celebrating Chiang Rai’s 750th anniversary amid coal dust and river pollution?”

Contact persons: Hark Mong Kok at harkmongkok@gmail.com

Download the press release in English, Burmese, Thai or Shan. See campaign briefer here.

Tags: , , , ,

This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Environmental and Economic Justice, Press Release

Related Posts
Save Mong Kok from Coal