Members of parliament have called for the cessation of mining projects in Paung Township, Mon State, in proposals submitted to the Pyithu Hluttaw, or national House of Representatives, and the Mon State Hluttaw.
Mi Kon Chan, a union-level parliamentary representative for Paung Township, also called on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation to cease and review current mining projects led by 22 different companies and located on the nearby mountain of Kalarma [Taung].
One such company, Long Life Aggregate Mining Co. Ltd operating out of Oukthadar Village in Paung Township, was granted authorization from the forestry department to conduct mining activities and gravel production on nearly 225 acres of land at Kalarma Mountain Forest Reserve.
“It was asked at the Hluttaw not to grant or extend permits for mining and to stop the projects permanently,” said Mi Kon Chan.
Mi Kon Chan also said that if the relevant government departments did not resolve the issue, it would be presented to the Union level Hluttaw for settlement.
Around 500 protestors, who walked from Oukthadar Village to the Long Life Aggregate project site on June 5, said mining would damage gardens, farmland, creeks, and roads, affecting natural resources and blocking water canals.
“We are protesting to stop the mining project because when they mine for gravel, water resources disappear. This causes a water crisis for us. Mining causes dust and sand [debris] that damage our plantations,” said protestor Daw Pan Yee.
Representative U Zaw Zaw Htoo from Paung Township Constituency No. (2) has also urged the Mon State Hluttaw to shut down the project.
Residents sent petition letters with more than 2,500 signatures opposing local mining to government departments in August 2014. Over 800 signatures were sent in December last year and over 1,000 were delivered this January.