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Pinpet iron mine and steel factory, Shan State, Myanmar

Mt. Pinpet was transformed into the country’s largest iron mine. Rumors of uranium mining surrounded the project. Severe impacts on local ethnic Pa-O provoked social mobilizations to stop the mine and factory.


Located in war-torn Shan State, the Burmese and Russian-backed Pinpet iron exploitation and processing project has transformed the area into the country’s largest iron mine. The mine and the iron processing factory have caused strong adverse impacts on local ethnic Pa-O and on the environment. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Pinpet iron mine and steel factory, Shan State, Myanmar
State or province:Shan State
Location of conflict:Mount Pinpet, Taunggyi Township
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Land acquisition conflicts
Uranium extraction
Other industries
Metal refineries
Specific commodities:Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Pinpet is also referred to as Penpet, Pangpet, Pengpek or Pinngo [1].

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Project area:ca. 4,450
Level of Investment:at least 210,000,000 USD
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:35,000
Start of the conflict:2004
Company names or state enterprises:Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) from Myanmar
Tyazhpromexport Cl., Ltd. from Russian Federation - operator and developer
Winner Super Diamond Co. Ltd (WSD) from Myanmar
Danieli & C. Soa from Italy - believed to be involved [7], but not confirmed.
Kyaw That Company Ltd. from Myanmar
Kanbawza Development Co. Ltd - operates the cement factory
Relevant government actors:Burma's past military regime
Ministry of Mining
Ministry of Industry
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO),
and others
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
ethnic Pa-O groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Other Health impactsSeveral mine workers have died [1]
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
New legislation
Project temporarily suspended
Compensation was insufficient, if available at all.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The mine and the factories were developed with severe social and environmental impacts. (The iron ore processing factory was temporarily suspended. No information on the current state of the factory could be found.)
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2012 Foreign Investment Law
[click to view]

1994 Myanmar Mines Law
[click to view]

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

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] PYO 2009 "Robbing the Future: Russian-backed Mining Project Threatens Pa-O Communities in Shan State, Burma". Published by Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO) in June 2009. (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

[7] Vignat E., (2014). “Shan State in Myanmar’s Problematic Nation-building and Regional Integration: Conflict and Development”. Chapter in “Transnational Dynamics in Southeast Asia: The Greater Mekong Subregion and Malacca Straits Economic Corridors” (edited by Nathalie Fau, Sirivanh Khonthapane, Christian Taillard). pages 191-220, ISEAS Publishing, Singapore.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Frontier Myanmar, 20 March 2017 "NLD lawmakers shutter dozens of state factories". (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

[4] PYO Press release embargoed for October 27, 2010 "Pa-Oh youth launch campaign to oppose damaging impacts of Burma’slargest iron mine". (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

Wikipedia on the Pinpet Mining Project, Myanmar
[click to view]

[3] Myanmar Business Today, 24 April 2016 "Steel Factory in Shan State to Open by July". (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

[2] The Ecologist article by Roberts J., 5 Novemeber 2010 "'Thousands threatened' by giant iron mine in Burma". (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

[6] Ministry of Industry, webpage on No(2) Steel Mill (Pang Pet). (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video based on the "Robbing the Future" report, update October 2010. (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

Video about Pinpet Burma's Largest iron mine and its impacts on local people. (accessed online 18.06.2018).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update20/06/2018
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