Environmentalists Decry Lack of Transparency in Mineral Exploration License

A Mon State-based environmental group this week slammed the government for allegedly extending a private company’s mineral exploration license in spite of widespread local objections to tapping in to the mountain’s resources.

The Min Lwin Mountain Environmental Conservation Committee said they only recently discovered that the Thaton Township’s deputy administrator extended Phyu Min Tun Company’s permission for mineral exploration and a feasibility study.

“I don’t understand why it was allowed without the local residents’ consent. This shows that they don’t respect the view of the local residents,” said Naw Than Sein, vice chair of the conservation committee.

She called on the Karen National Union (KNU) to intervene since the Min Lwin Mountain is located in territory under the armed group’s control.

After the company’s previous license expired in April 2016, the KNU suspended further activity in response to the local residents’ objection.

But according to a letter obtained by the conservation committee, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation’s management committee agreed to extend Phyu Min Tun Company’s license from April 22, 2017 to April 21, 2018.

The Min Lwin Mountain Environmental Conservation Committee claimed that the company tried to start a cement factory project after it obtained permission for mineral exploration the first time around.

Karen News was unable to contact the Thaton Township administration or company officials to ask about the letter or the status of the license.

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