KIO Stops Gold Mining In Kachin State

By Network Media Group
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has banned gold extraction in the areas it controls and near its sphere of influence in Kachin State. Since the military’s coup against the democratic government almost a year ago, gold mining has increased dramatically in the area.

”We will lose our natural resources without benefiting our people and it will damage the environment,” KIO spokesperson Col Naw Bu told NMG. He said some miners are digging up the gardens where internally displaced persons (IDPs) live.

The KIO’s governing body, the Kachin Independence Council (KIC), will confiscate backhoes and other mining equipment and impose fines on those who ignore the order.

According to locals, gold mining near the suspended Myitsone Dam 42 km north of the Kachin State capital, Myitkyina, began after the junta’s Kachin State Administration Council gave its approval.

“We know that gold mining has started in the area of Myitsone, Sumprabum and along Lido Road in Tanai. The junta cannot monitor gold mining in these areas and the investors and companies are taking advantage of this,” said Col Naw Bu.

Environmentalists and residents told NMG that they have called on the dictatorship to stop mining because it is damaging the environment in Kachin State.

“Many people are mining gold in the area of Myitsone, N’san Khu, N’than Zup, N’lan Zup and Mali Yang. And I heard that there are gold mining companies in N’gun area, about 26 miles from Myitkyina. We have already complained about this, but no one has done anything and now I do not know what else to do,” said a Tanpre resident who asked that her name not be mentioned.

Nam San Yang residents who fled their village in Waingmaw Township after fighting broke out between the military wing of the KIO, the Kachin Independence Army, and the regime told NMG that mining had also started in their area when they returned. They sent a letter of complaint to the KIO in early November, which subsequently banned mining of the precious metal on 27 December.