Locals to Resume Protests over Dumping of Mining Waste in Hpakant

By Zarni Mann 25 February 2016

MANDALAY — Residents of Lone Khin in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township said on Thursday they would resume protests against the dumping of mining waste in the area after mining companies allegedly failed to comply with an agreement reached last week.

Protests were staged earlier this month in several villages of Hpakant Township over the continued dumping of waste soil from nearby jade mines in or around communities, which locals said were dangerous and impacted local waterways.

On Friday, the protests, which had involved preventing company trucks from reaching areas to dump waste, were reportedly suspended after authorities and villagers negotiated an agreement.

Officials said that local authorities, representatives from mining companies and concerned villagers signed an agreement stipulating that the mining companies would halt the dumping of waste soil from jade mines in areas near local villages.

However, most locals said they were not aware of the apparent settlement.

According to local protesters, the stipulations of the agreement were not being followed by mining companies or officials.

“Until now, they keep dumping waste soil and no action has been taken yet, as promised. That’s why we decided to resume the roadblock protest,” said Nung Lat, a local involving in the protests.

“We lifted the roadblock [on Friday] as they promised they would avoid village areas and would clean up the mess as soon as possible. But they signed the agreements without the knowledge of locals and then spread news that the protests were ended.”

Protesters said officials or company representatives were yet to respond to the news that protests would resume.