Tigyit coal mine and power plant, Shan State, Myanmar

Burma’s first coal power plant and mine were closed in 2014 following successful mobilizations by residents. The reopening of the power station has renewed the protests against the dirty energy provider.


Description

Tigyit is a village in Shan State, Myanmar that was once rich of local traditions and diverse livelihood practices based on rotational agriculture of rice, potatoes, cabbage, garlic and chili. Tea coming from the area has been famous in the country. In 2001, the village was turned into Myanmar’s first large-scale coal mine and power plant. Strong local opposition due to concerns over adverse health and environmental impacts followed. The Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) – a civil society group (CSO) set up by monks, women and youth in 1998 - and Kyoju Action Network (KAN) published a report in 2011 that documented the negative experiences with the Tigyit coal project [see 1 – 2011 report “Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma’s largest coal project at Tigyit”]. 

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Basic Data
NameTigyit coal mine and power plant, Shan State, Myanmar
CountryMyanmar
ProvinceShan State
SiteTigyit village, Pinlaung township
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Coal extraction and processing
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Land
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe coal mine and coal power plant is in the village of Tigyit, Shan State, about 20 km from Myanmar’s Inle Lake.

THE MINE:

According to the 2011 report [1], there are 16 large-scale coal deposits in Myanmar with a total of coal resources amounting to 270 million tons. Tigyit has an estimated deposit of 20.02 million tons of coal (Lignite and sub-bituminous). At the time of publishing the report, the Tigyit project was Myanmar’s biggest open pit coal mine, producing between 1,750 and 2,000 tons of coal/day. Smaller amounts of coal have also been extracted through tunnel mines, located under farmlands and paddy fields. Produced coal is transported to the Tigyit coal power plant.

The Tigyit mine was implemented by China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC) and the Burmese companies Eden Group and Shan Yoma Nagar [1].

Investment for excavation between 2002 and 2011 was estimated to amount to 10 million USD [1].

THE POWER PLANT:

The coal power plant is about 2km away from the mine. According to the 2011 report, the Tigyit power plant uses about 640,000 tons of coal/year to produce about 600 GWh annually. The plant has a capacity of 120 MW [1].

The produced electricity is then slated to nearby industries, including the nearby Pinpet iron factory, operated by Russian and Italian companies [1].

The power plant has been operated by China National Heavy Machinery Corporation Company (CHMC), Eden Group of Myanmar and Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise (MEPE). Investment cost was estimated (in 2011) to amount to about 43 million USD [1].

During operation, about 100-159 tons of fly ash is generated per day. Fly ash contains heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic [1].

Upgrading conducted during 2016 has been carried out by the Chinese company Wuxi Huagaung Electric Power Engineering [4,5].
Project Area (in hectares)202
Level of Investment (in USD)> 53,000,000 USD (mine and plant, 2001-2011)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population12,000
Start Date2001
Company Names or State EnterprisesWuxi Huagaung Electric Power Engineering from China - operating company - since 2015
Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise ( MEPE) from Myanmar
China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC) from China - operating company
Eden Group of Myanmar Co. Ltd from Myanmar - operating company
Shan Yoma Naga Co. Ltd from Myanmar - operating company
Relevant government actorsBurma’s past military regime

Ministry of Mining

Ministry of Energy
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO), http://paoyouthorganization.blogspot.com/

Kyoju Action Network (KAN)

Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), http://www.mata-nrg.org/

and others
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Shan, Pa-Oh, Taung Yoe, and Burman ethnic groups
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition
OtherSeveral workers died due to landslides at the mine [1].
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Bottom up mobilizations successfully helped to shut the plant in 2014 and the case has became an important reference for the countrywide struggles against coal power. However, the coal power plant has recently reopened under a new permission.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2012 Foreign Investment Law
[click to view]

1994 Myanmar Mines Law
[click to view]

2014 Myanmar Electricity Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure
[click to view]

References

[1] PYO and KAN 2011 "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma's largest coal project at Tigyit". Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) and Kyoju Action Network (KAN). (accessed online 11.06.2018).
[click to view]

Links

[4] Myanmar Times, 10 November 2016 "Official speaks out against coal power" (accessed online 11.06.2018).
[click to view]

[3] Myanmar Times, 28 April 2016 "Chinese firm to restart Myanmar’s only coal plant" (accessed online 11.06.2018).
[click to view]

[2] (accessed online 11.06.2018).
[click to view]

[5] Myanmar Times, 265 October 2016 "Residents fear restart of coal power plant" (accessed online 11.06.2018).
[click to view]

Media Links

Video "Burma biggest coal mine" based on the 2011 Report "Poison clouds"
[click to view]

Other Documents

Open pit mine encroaches farmland Source and Credit: "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma's largest coal project at Tigyit". Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) and Kyoju Action Network (KAN). http://burmacampaign.org.uk/images/uploads/PoisonClouds.pdf
[click to view]

Tigit coal power plant Source and Credit: "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma's largest coal project at Tigyit". Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) and Kyoju Action Network (KAN). http://burmacampaign.org.uk/images/uploads/PoisonClouds.pdf
[click to view]

Cover of the Civil Society Report Source and Credit: "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma's largest coal project at Tigyit". Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) and Kyoju Action Network (KAN). http://burmacampaign.org.uk/images/uploads/PoisonClouds.pdf
[click to view]

Map of coal mine and power plant Source and Credit: "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma's largest coal project at Tigyit". Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) and Kyoju Action Network (KAN). http://burmacampaign.org.uk/images/uploads/PoisonClouds.pdf
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEJatlas Southeast Asia Team (ejatlas.asia"at"gmail.com)
Last update13/06/2018
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