Friday, August 18, 2017

Jade mining in Hpakant, Lone Khin on hold due to monsoon

Jade mining operations in Hpakant and Lone Khin of Kachin State have slowly begun to wind down from last week, due to the approaching monsoon season, locals told The Myanmar Times.

In Myanmar, Hpakant and Lone Khin jade regions are known for producing world-renowned jade, and due to the weather, companies annually stop their jade extraction operations, the locals said. The operations usually stop at the start of the monsoon, either in June or mid-June, and resume in October, after the end of the monsoon season.

Likewise, the majority of companies in Seng Tawng quarter of Hpakant Township, have started to stop their operations from last week, but not all the companies have stopped as there were some companies left that were still mining, said a Hpakant local, U Kyaw Myint.

“Not all of them have stopped mining. But, they do not dispose of the tailings outside. They throw it inside a ditch within the company’s compound,” he added.

Most of the companies in Lone Khin had also stopped mining operations, except for two.

According to locals, currently in the jade region of Hpakant and Lone Khin, there were only a few companies left mining, but most of the companies, including Tauk Pa Kyel Company, had halted their operations.

During the monsoon season the previous year, tailing dumped by the companies flowed into Uru creek with the rain, and caused floods in the local villages.

Although there were no indications of flooding at the start of this year’s rainy season, locals were worried about another flood occurring, said Hpakant local, Daw Kaing Yar.

“Tailings were thrown right beside Uru creek. Even if they dump it in another place, the tailings wash right back into the village. The tailings flow back to the village foundation. The rain is only starting now, so it’s not yet heavy. Later, when heavy rain arrives there will be flooding,” she remarked.

Flooding in previous years had caused the houses to be elevated but not everyone can afford this; additionally when heavy rains occur tailings disposed by mining companies at tributary streams in Seng Tawng of Hpakant, would flow along the streams.

Daw Kaing Yar added that, similarly, at jade mining quarters in Lone Khin, tailings were thrown near the vicinity of the streams.

Translation by Kyaw Soe Htet