Gemstone mining

China-backed gold mine in Laos pollutes local river, killing fish

A gold mine run by a Chinese company in southern Laos is releasing waste into a river in Sekong province, killing fish and fouling water used by villagers for drinking and bathing, Lao sources say. The Lao Kaleum Gold Mining Project began operations last year and ...

Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Chinese traders prefer Hpakant over Mandalay gems market

Buyers from China have found it much easier to do business in the mines of Hpakant than in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Gems Trading Centre, the city’s largest emporium which features more than 1000 shops, especially if they want to buy raw or uncut jades. “I have ...

Cold-water fish a gold mine

Hoang Van Ta, 53, was the first person to farm salmon in his commune in the mountainous province of Lang Son in 2007. Now he earns as much as VND4-5 billion (US$180,000-$220,000) a year from salmon. Mau Son Commune, Loc Binh District is located about 170km ...

Coal miners owe the Indonesian government hundreds of millions of dollars

Indonesia is now one of the world’s largest exporters of coal, an industry that contributes around four percent of the country’s gross domestic product mostly through exports to China and India. Despite its massive size, however, observers are concerned that the sector’s actual contribution to ...

Trouble brewing after giant jade rock seized and deemed state property

Tensions are rising between gem scavengers and the Taut Pa Kye Company in Hpakant township, Kachin State, after a huge jadeite found by scavengers was confiscated as it was said to be state-owned property. After the jadeite was discovered in the Taut Pa Kye Company work ...

Nine killed in Kachin jade mine landslide

A landslide in northern Myanmar’s jade mining region has killed 9 people, a local official said on February 11, the latest fatal incident to strike the shadowy billion-dollar industry. The men were believed to be searching for jade in Kachin State when a wall of unstable ...

Slag heaps from mining operations concern Kachin residents

Kachin people have complained that mining companies are dumping waste soil recklessly and that it could trigger natural disasters. “We’ve found some companies dumped slag near tributaries of the Uru River. The waste soil could block the river during the rainy season,” said a resident of ...

Nickel market roiled by supply outlooks in Indonesia, Philippines

The nickel market has been undergoing wild swings this year, pummeled by Indonesia’s move to relax an export ban but later buoyed by expectations of a supply decrease from the Philippines. The Philippines said last Thursday that it will close mines responsible for roughly half of the ...

Villagers demand investigation into gold mines

Mandalay farmers have staged a sit-in for the past four days in protest of gold mines they claim have encroached on their land. The Wet Tae village residents are demanding the government suspend the mining activities until the conclusion of an investigation. They also called for ...

The Salween Peace Park: a radical, grassroots alternative to development in Karen State

A path has opened for environmental conservationists and rights advocates to strengthen their fight against gold mining and other socially and environmentally destructive projects in the rich forests of Karen State in eastern Myanmar: the Salween Peace Park. The 5,200-square-kilometer Peace Park is a radical ...

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