Villagers from Myaung Byo, located in Dawei District, have filed a court case over damages allegedly caused by the Heinda mining project operated by Myanmar Pongpipat Company Ltd.
“It has had many negative social and economic impacts on our community,” Myaung Byo’s villagers said in a joint statement.
Myaung Byo village has around 100 households, with over 500 people, locals said. The main income for locals was farming on the banks of the local river.
The villagers were moved to the village’s current site in 1983 after being relocated by the then military regime. The Myanmar Pongpitat Company opened the Heinda mine in 1999. Villagers said that shortly afterwards local waterways were drained, wildlife and plants died and buildings were damaged by waste sediment produced by the mine.
“Many of our plantations, houses, wells and religious buildings were destroyed due to [mine] waste and sediment left by the mining company. In 2012, flooding caused further destruction of houses, plantations and water sources along the Myaung Byo creek, which is now filled with waste and sediment from the mining project,” the villagers said.
The villagers said that the mine project had ruined their livelihoods, and that local authorities had failed to help.
“Though we villagers have seriously suffered from the flood caused by mining project, Myanmar Pongpipat has taken no responsibility for any damages caused to us. We have reported about difficulties to respective government departments and the company itself, but have not received proper or meaningful responses so far. We have experienced pressure from authorities and a lack of accountability by the company instead of meaningful and fair negotiation.”