Illegal gold mines operate unchecked in Myanmar’s Kachin state since coup

Illegal gold mine operations have run unchecked in the capital of Myanmar’s Kachin state since the military seized power 10 months ago, raising concerns for villagers who spent years protesting a massive Chinese-backed dam project in the early 2000s.

Local sources along the Irrawaddy River in Kachin recently told RFA’s Myanmar Service that illegal gold mining operations began in earnest only weeks after the military’s Feb. 1 coup. They said they fear the unregulated activities could damage the waterway and the surrounding environment.

A resident who gave her name as Laura said that a gold mining operation in Myitsone is situated at a riverbend where the current is extremely strong. She said the mining impacts the integrity of the banks and could lead the river to change course during the rainy season, flooding nearby Tanphare village.

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Reported by Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.