Mon State Hluttaw approved a motion on September 6 to take action against a cement factory for generating electricity without permission.
According to the state hluttaw’s Project and Economic Affairs Committee, Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL) has been generating electricity at a Kyaikmaraw township factory without the approval of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
Despite objections from the state chief minister, the hluttaw voted in favor – 17 for, 7 against – of cracking down on MCL’s coal-fired cement factory.
“If [a company] wants to invest in Myanmar, it must follow the laws enacted by the country,” said Daw Khine Khine Lei, State Hluttaw MP from Thaton township 1.
The MCL cement factory started commercial production on April 1 this year.Last month, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy told the Mon State Hluttaw that the cement factory had not obtained permission for generating power off the grid, but added that the company had entered into negotiations with the Union government.
The US$400 million cement factory is a joint venture between Thailand’s Siam Cement and Pacific Link Cement. MCL’s managing director Wijit Terasarun told The Myanmar Times last year that the company had received approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission for “an integrated cement plant consisting of a small self-use electricity utility that generates 40-megawatt energy power from coal and biomass and a 9-megawatt Waste Heat Generator to assist in producing power”.
MCL’s executive officer, U Zaw Lwin Oo, told a public meeting on August 17 that the company holds a temporary license from the Mon State Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection for a 20-megawatt generator. The license is valid from January 16, 2017 to January 15, 2018.
Following the September 6 hluttaw vote, Mon State Chief Minister U Aye Zan said he would inform the company of the need to get additional approval for its power generation.
“Since the proposal has been approved, I will inform MCL. You [the MPs] should inform the Union Electricity Department. There’s no problem if we inform in line with the law,” he said.
Local residents have repeatedly raised objections to the factory’s use of coal. In February, about 7,000 local residents staged a protest against the coal-fired factory and the perceived lack of local consultation before the project launched operations.