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Mong Kung coal mine in Shan State, Myanmar

Thousands of protesters oppose the two coal mining concessions in Mong Kung that threaten the environment, livelihood and health of ethnic Shan communities.


Two coal mining concessions in Mong Kung township have caused large concerns over their social and environmental impacts on local ethnic Shan communities. The conflict between the residents and the coal extractors begun in 2014 when the two companies Pyae Aung Hein and Hein Myittar received a permission for coal exploration by the Union government. In December 2015, the companies were granted a five-year permit to dig for coal in a 200-acre (ca. 80,1 ha) concession area. Digging activities started in January 2017 [1]. A local state lawmaker said the project would cover about 2,000 acres (ca. 810 ha) [2]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mong Kung coal mine in Shan State, Myanmar
State or province:Shan State
Location of conflict:Mong Kung Township, Loilem district
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
Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The two mining sites are operated by Pyae Aung Hein Mining Co. Ltd. and Hein Myittar Co. Ltd. (sometimes also referred to as Hein Mitter) and are located next to each other [1,7].

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Project area:810
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:several thousands
Start of the conflict:2014
Company names or state enterprises:Hein Myittar Mining Co. Ltd from Myanmar - mining company
Pyae Aung Hein Mining Co., Ltd. from Myanmar - mining company
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation [MONREC]
Department of Mines
and others
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Shan Human Rights Foundation,
and other groups
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
ethnic Shan communities
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
religious ceremonies
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition
Other Health impactsExposure to pollution from coal mining
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:According to the Shan Human Rights Foundation, villagers, monks, local politicians and civil society groups call for an immediate halt of the mining concessions. More generally, civil society groups call for a halt of all extractive projects in ethnic areas until a political solution is achieved and communities have been giving the right to use and protect natural resources in their areas in their own way [1].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The protesters achieved several times to suspend the mining operations, however, the companies were granted permission to continue operations despite the strong local opposition.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

1994 Myanmar Mines Law
[click to view]

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

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Burma News International, 16 May 2017 "Coalmine companies refuse to withdraw from Mong Kung" (accessed online 03.07.2018).
[click to view]

[6] Burma News International, 18 April 2017 "Coal-mining companies agree to close down in Mong Kung" (accessed online 03.07.2018).
[click to view]

[1] Update by Shan Human Rights Foundation, 25 May 2017 "Coal mining in Mong Kung threatens vital southern Shan State water source" (accessed online 02.07.2018).
[click to view]

[4] Shan Herald Agency for News, 11 April 2017 "4,000 protest coal mine in Mong Kung" (accessed online 03.07.2018).
[click to view]

[3] Burma News International, 18 November 2014 "Petitioners Ask RCSS for Help in Halting Coal Mine" (accessed online 03.07.2018).
[click to view]

[2] Mizzima news, 15 January 2015 "Impasse over coal mining protest in Shan State" (accessed online 03.07.2018).
[click to view]

[7] The Irrawaddy, 11 June 2018 "Coal Miners Given Permission to Resume Controversial Projects in Shan State" (accessed online 03.07.2018).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update04/07/2018
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