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Lahu Women Demand End to Destructive Platinum Mining in Burma’s Shan State

By Lahu Women Organization  •  May 8, 2012

A Lahu women’s group is calling for an immediate end to destructive platinum mining operations in Eastern Shan State.

In a new report “Grab for White Gold: Impacts of platinum mining in Eastern Shan State,” the Lahu Women’s Organization (LWO) describes how recent platinum mining has impacted about 2,000 people from eight Lahu, Akha and Shan villages in the hills north of Tachilek, eastern Shan State. Platinum, known as “shwe phyu” or “white gold” in Burmese, is being extracted by Burmese mining companies and exported to China and Thailand.

Mining companies have forced villagers to sell property and land at cheap prices, and confiscated other lands without compensation. Hundreds of acres of farms and forestland have been seized, or destroyed by dumping of mining waste. Local roads have been ruined by heavy mining trucks.

Women are facing particular hardship due to diversion and contamination of water sources, now having to walk long distances to fetch water for domestic use. The influx of migrant male miners into the area has also led to a growing sex trade.

Complaints by villagers to the companies and local authorities have fallen on deaf ears.

“By paying off the Burmese military, mining companies can do what they want,” said LWO researcher Na Ve Bon. “In Burma’s rural areas, it is still the rule of the gun.”

LWO is calling on the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to the destructive mining operations, which are not contributing to local development, but are causing poverty and environmental degradation.

Download the press release in

Click here to see the report.

Contact persons:
(Burmese) Na Ve Bon +66 81 030 6370
(English) Rebecca +66 80 030 8611

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

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