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Platinum mining in Eastern Shan State, Myanmar

The Lahu Women Organization denounced the ‘grab for white gold’ in Eastern Shan State and called upon the government to stop the socially and environmentally destructive mining.


Platinum mining has been taking place in the hills north of Tachilek in Shan State, Myanmar since 2007. The precious metal commodity, commonly used in industrial applications and finest jewelry, is mined by several Burmese companies before it is exported to China and Thailand. A civil society report entitled “Grab for White Gold: Platinum Mining in Eastern Shan State”, published in 2012 by the Lahu Women Organization (LWO), has exposed human rights abuses and destruction of livelihood resources by these platinum mines. This EJatlas entry summarizes the main findings of this civil society report [1] and related press coverage [2].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Platinum mining in Eastern Shan State, Myanmar
State or province:Shan State
Location of conflict:Ah Yeh village, 13 km north of Tachilek
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Platinum
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to the report, five companies operated around Ah Yeh village in 2012 [1]. According to a news article, in total about 15 companies were active in the area [2].

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Project area:unknown
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2,000
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Sai Laung Hein Company from Myanmar - mining company
Sann Baramee Co. from Myanmar - mining company
Wanna Thein Than Co. from Myanmar - mining company
Myint U Aung (Moe Seit Mwe) Company from Myanmar - mining company
Hein Lay Say Company from Myanmar - mining company
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Lahu Women's Organisation (LWO)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
ethnic Shan, Akha and Lahu communities
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsincreased exposure to polluted water sources
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Specific impacts on women, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
compensation was reportedly insufficient, or absent [1]
Development of alternatives:In 2012, the Lahu Women Organization made the following recommendations (see [1]):
To the Burmese government
• To order all the mining companies to immediately stop their mining operations in the Ah Yeh village area.
• To order and ensure that the companies provide adequate compensation for the damage already caused to villagers’ property, and to restore the terrain as much as possible to its former state.
To local communities
• To take action to protect their lands and livelihoods from these destructive mining operations.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:No information could be found on the current status of the mines
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2014 Environmental Conservation Rules
[click to view]

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

1994 Myanmar Mines Law
[click to view]

2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law
[click to view]

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

[1] Lahu Women Organization (LWO), 2012. "Grab for White Gold: Platinum Mining in Eastern Shan State". (accessed on 19.10.2018).
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] The Irrawaddy, 8 May 2012. "Platinum Mines Seize 200 Acres of Farmland". (accessed on 19.10.2018).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update22/10/2018
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