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Mon State cement factory says govt has yet to lodge rebuke

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Officials from a Mon State cement factory say that they have not received a notice of censure from the Mon State government, despite a resolution earlier this month to clampdown on the factory’s energy generation.

The Mon State Hluttaw approved a motion on September 6 to take action against Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL) for generating energy allegedly without permission from the relevant ministries, thereby violating the terms of its licensing agreement. During the hearing, Mon State Chief Minister U Aye Zan told the hluttaw that he would inform the factory of the resolution and remind the officials to abide by the relevant laws.

But according to factory officials, no such notification has been forthcoming.

“Neither the hluttaw nor the [state] government has informed us so far,” said U Zaw Lwin Oo, MCL’s executive officer. He added that he believes that MCL’s factory is operating with all necessary permissions and licenses.

The company holds a temporary license from the Mon State Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection for a 20-megawatt generator that expires in January 2018, according to U Zaw Lwin Oo.

The MCL cement factory, a US$400 million joint venture between Thailand’s Siam Cement and Pacific Link Cement, started commercial production on April 1 this year.

In August, the Union Ministry of Electricity and Energy told the Mon State Hluttaw that the cement factory had not obtained permission for generating power off the grid by burning coal and biomass.

During the September 6 parliamentary session, U Aye Zan defended MCL’s operations, saying they were in line with the law because the plant was only generating electricity for its own facilities. Despite the Chief Minister’s objections, the chamber voted in favor of censuring the factory, with 17 voting for and seven against.

Local residents have vocally opposed the Kyaikmaraw township factory and have slammed the government for moving ahead with the project without taking into consideration the concerns about pollution and public health. Over 2,000 demonstrators assembled in Mawlamyine in July to protest what they said was a lack of action on the part of the regional government.

According to MCL’s project report, the factory requires 49 megawatts of power which 40 megawatts are generated from coal and biomass, supplemented by 9 megawatts from a Waste Heat Generator.

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