Extractive industries

Deadly Myanmar mine disaster caused by poor planning, say data sleuths

A detailed analysis of satellite and remote-sensing data has uncovered poor conditions at the Wai Khar jade mine in northern Myanmar, where a landslide last July killed more than 170 people. The international team of authors behind the study1 — the first to rigorously document a mining accident ...

Andrew Silver

People live in fear as Mekong riverbanks collapse

One recent mid-morning, Lev Pheng Ang, a 52-year-old mother who runs a grocery store on the bank of the Mekong River in Rakar Korng Muoy commune, Kandal province’s Muk Kampoul district, was running her business as usual when she heard a loud splash in the ...

Moeun Chhean Nariddh

Can the EU's climate change plan work in Southeast Asia?

After the European Union became a “strategic partner” of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc in December 2020, both blocs pledged to make climate change policy a key area of cooperation. The EU, already the largest provider of development assistance to the ASEAN region, has committed ...

David Hutt

Sand mining contracts cause serious concerns

Sand mining is conducted mainly at open pits, beaches, inland dunes or from the dredging of ocean and river beds. Sand is mined primarily to produce concrete for use in construction but this little-noticed and largely unregulated activity has serious costs  because it damages rivers and ...

Jason Boken

Myanmar’s Jade Center Suspends Most Mining Amid Coronavirus Spike

The Myanmar government has suspended large-scale jade-mining activities in Kachin state, home to the world’s largest jade mine and a magnet for poor scavengers, until early next year in the face of surging coronavirus infections, the state’s natural resources minister said. Large-scale mining in Hpakant township, ...

Elizabeth Jangma for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Coal will power Cambodia in the wrong direction

Across Southeast Asia, governments continue to view coal as a reliable and inexpensive energy source, despite the rapidly falling costs of renewable power and the growing number of companies making vocal commitments to meeting all their demand with it. These companies are clear about what ...

Peter Ford

How a Beloved Gemstone Became a Symbol of Environmental Tragedy in Myanmar

The jade gemstones that generate billions of dollars a year in Myanmar — the world’s biggest exporter of the stone — are beloved in China, where they can sell for more than gold. But they are a symbol of tragedy and suffering for the people who ...

EMILY FISHBEIN AND AUNG MYAT LAMUNG; Additional reporting by Jaw Tu Hkawng.

Ministry to probe suspected illegal mining in Mon forest

Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Ministry will investigate reports of illegal gold mining in a forest near Watwun mountain in Kyaikto township, Mon State, a senior official said. U Ye Myint Swe, the ministry’s deputy minister, said an area in the forest has been leased for ...

Yee Ywal Myint

Covid-induced energy plunge shrinks coal development in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s response to the Covid‑19 outbreak has curtailed electricity use and industrial production, pushing down coal consumption even further this year, according to the latest report from a non-governmental organisation which monitors worldwide fossil fuel infrastructure. Even before Covid-19, new coal plant construction was already slowing in the ...

Hannah Alcoseba Fernandez

The covert industry that is destroying the world’s rivers

Good sand is surprisingly hard to find, and some of the best — the kind used to make glass, concrete and even iPhones — is usually found only in riverbeds and along coasts. Now researchers are discovering that a global boom in sand mining is ...

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