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Joint Press Release

By Molo Women Mining Watch Network and Karenni Civil Society Network  •  October 3, 2013

The MWMWN and KCSN today strongly condemned the Burmese government’s practice of granting mining contracts in conflict zones in Karenni State as a new form of military offensive.

There has been a dramatic increase in mining projects in Karenni State following the ceasefire agreement between the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and Thein Sein’s government in March 2012, with numbers of mining sites growing from 3 to 16. Tin and tungsten mines in Mawchi mining town have been expanded, and new antimony, coal, galena and gold mines are being mined throughout Karenni state.

According to local sources in Pasaung Township, two companies will survey and mine approximately 100,000 new acres (426 square kilometers of land) outside the Mawchi mining area, including the Mawsaki company owned by U Tun Kyaw, a chairman of the Karenni Nationalities People Liberation Front (KNPLF), which is now acting as a government-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF), and an unknown Australian company in which Burmese actor Lwin Moe is involved. Additionally, the Nan Yin Mon Aung mining company and Yadana Sai Kaung Myat Kyaw mining company will jointly mine 16 new areas covering approximately 3,000 acres of land outside of the Mawchi mining area.

“The rapid mining allowed by the government before political agreement between the current government and ethnic armed groups has been a new military offensive to overrun the ethnic areas for economic exploitation and control of natural resources and has only fueled armed conflict among ethnic groups” analyzed the Molo Women Mining Watch Network.

Despite rich natural resources in Karenni state, local people have not benefited but instead have lost their farmlands, mountains, rivers, livelihoods and villages due to forced relocation, land confiscation, and environment destruction related to the mining projects, “The richness of natural resources in our state is [being used] to kill us,” said a 60 year-old male villager from Keh Ma Pyu village in Pasaung Township.

The MWMWN and the KCSN are demanding that all new mining projects granted since the KNPP ceasefire in March 2012 must be stopped until there is constitutional reform granting ethnic states the right to control and manage their own natural resources under a federal system of government, and ensuring local communities the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent to any projects.

For more detailed information about mining in Karenni State, please refer to the pamphlet “Mining in conflict zone: a new form of military offensive.”

Contact persons: 
Nang Kham Lyar Phone (086-197-1526) For Burmese 
Khu Mi Reh Phone (081-029-9570) For Burmese and English 

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