Rare Earth Mine Continues Despite Villagers’ Objections In Mansi Township

By Network Media Group
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Workers at a rare earth mine have not left the site despite their huts being destroyed by more than a thousand local villagers angry that a mining operation approved by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) is taking place in their community in Mansi Township, Kachin State.

“They did not respond to our request to leave by 28 February,” a person who wished to remain anonymous told NMG.

Residents from N’ba Pa, Inbarpar, Dingsingpar and other nearby villages in Bhamo District where mining will take place fear it will destroy their land and lead to long-term health problems, which has been well documented in various reports from other areas affected by similar mining.

Videos of the residents destroying the workers’ huts went viral on social media. They say they have held several meetings with the investors, but their demands have been ignored.

A person who joined the protest said more than 1,200 arrived at noon on Tuesday, 21 March to discuss the matter. They asked the employees of the mine to sign a letter promising to leave. However, when the villagers returned at 5pm, they had not done so they ransacked their huts and destroyed their personal belongings. So far no action against anyone for what happened.

The Christian churches in the area, together with locals, have formed the Anti-Rare Earth Campaign Committee and sent several letters to the KIO headquarters asking to stop the mining. However, the Kachin armed group, which is fighting against the military regime, has not responded, leading to the current debacle.

KIO has also allowed rare earth mining to happen around the villages of Dingsing Pa, Dingsing Bum, Hka Para, N’jun Bum, Fai Dang, Daron, Hka-U and Jangmai Hpetgum in the township.

Chinese companies arrived in N’ba Pa on 22 September to survey the area in preparation for mining and haven’t left since.

Locals have vowed to fight until the mining is stopped.