In a crucial follow-up to the announcement made on April 15, 2023, the government of Wa State, Myanmar has now released a comprehensive implementation plan for the slated suspension of all mining activities from August 1, 2023. This document dated May 20 further underscores the government’s commitment to halt unsustainable mining practices that have led to resource wastage, environmental pollution, and worker safety concerns.
The Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of Industry and Mining, in accordance with “Wa Jing Zi No. 2023-06”, detailed the upcoming changes:
1. All mines within the mining area of Wa must gear up for the cessation of production from August 1. Preservation of existing facilities and infrastructures is mandated, with stringent penalties for intentional destruction or safety violations.
2. The state’s mines, open-pit mining areas, and concentrators are to enhance safety measures in slag piles, tailings, roads, and rivers prior to the rainy season to prevent safety hazards related to the mining halt.
3. Pumping operations will be permitted to avert mine collapse and minor damages, but any form of exploration or mining will remain prohibited.
4. Mining companies are instructed to collaborate with the Bureau of Industry and Mining’s Man Maw Inspection Section to settle wage disputes and trade debts for mining workers, precluding potential large-scale safety incidents.
5. A smooth demobilisation process for mine workers, inclusive of water and electricity safety provisions, is stipulated.
The unyielding stance exhibited by the Wa State government in its latest correspondence to mining firms demonstrates its serious intent to proceed with the mining suspension. It is positioned as a strong message to the mining sector about the government’s unwavering commitment to promote sustainable mining practices, protect the environment, and safeguard the welfare of mine workers. Companies failing to adhere to these guidelines risk facing severe economic and criminal repercussions.