Parliament rejects government measures to resolve Hpakant mine crisis


The sun may set, but the mine still teems with workers throughout the night. Photo: Minzayar

The sun may set, but the mine still teems with workers throughout the night. Photo: Minzayar

Measures presented by the government to address the problem of deaths due to landslides caused by jade mining were rejected by parliament and house speaker Thura Shwe Mann as they were considered not to be the right solutions to the issue.

At the parliament session, held on 28 December, Deputy Minister of Mining Than Tun Aung presented to parliament a number of intended solutions to resolve the current crises in Hpakant and Lonkhin jade mines. These were banning jade mining in Lonkhin and Hpakant; imposing a curfew on the mine areas; or putting the at-risk areas under martial law in order to enforce the rule of law there.

Parliamentarians criticized the suggestions given by the deputy minister and did not approve the measures but put them on record only. 

Upper House Bill Committee secretary and NLD MP Dr.Myat Nyarna Soe said that the government should work for the benefit of local people, the country and the people who own these natural resources. Stopping jade mining, imposing section 144 of Penal Code and martial law in the area as presented by the deputy minister would be ineffective he said.

Kachin State, Ingyanyan constituency MP Dwe Bu also criticized the suggestions given by the deputy minister stating these resolutions needed administrative means but the main important thing in the area was the restoration of peace.

“In the three resolutions to resolve the crises in this area we need to amend the constitution first and we need to make workable arrangements for the local people engaging in jade mining. And then we need peace. There will be no rule of law without peace in this area. We cannot restore the rule of law in this area without peace. So the first and foremost solution to resolve these crises is building peace in this area,” she added.

The Deputy Minister came and presented the options to parliament after the speaker Thura Shwe Mann sent a message to the President for an explanation at the earliest date on the frequent number of casualties due to landslides in jade mining areas.

An Upper House MP from Kachin State said a week ago that landslides had taken place in Hpakant at least 37 times in 2015 alone.

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