The number of illegal rare-earth element mining businesses in northern Kachin State has now increased much greater than the previous years, according to local sources.
Locals say rare-earth mining was seen only in hilly border areas near Panwa before Myanmar’s political change in 2021, but the number of such illegal mining sites has increased since April 2021 and reached an unprecedented level throughout this year.
A local resident in Panwa said: “Before the political change, there were only two or three 3,000-gallon oil bowsers a day. In about April 2021, the number of such oil bowsers reached about 20 a day. But when I counted the other day, over 80 bowsers come a day. The mining in the mountains has spread out to the valleys of Chibwe. The locals are showing their opposition because their water supply and livestock breeding are being harmed.”
TUN LIN AUNG (MYITKYINA)