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Myanmar coup: Gold mining at unprecedented levels since coup, says activists
Myanmar is still facing unrest since February last year when the generals overthrew the elected government in a coup. Activists have warned of the toll the coup has taken on the environment, saying that gold mining has hit unprecedented levels since the junta began its rule.
In a report by Al Jazeera, activists have said that gold mining in Myanmar has reached unprecedented levels since the military staged a coup. As a result of the increased mining for the resource, trees were cleared, lands and riverbanks eroded, and waterways were polluted with mercury sediments across northern Myanmar, worsening an issue that has been around for 20 years.
According to the report, activists have called on both the military and the Kachin Independence Organization, a group that has long sought autonomy and joined the anti-coup resistance, to order a halt to gold mining in the country. Activists have also issued numerous statements, given media interviews, and met local Christian leaders as well as other influential groups.
However, the push to stop the mining has also placed activists in a challenging position due to the business interests of one prominent Kachin family that has ties to both the KIO and the military in order to receive large concessions in logging and jade mining. The industries have already not been adequately regulated by authorities prior to the coup, and the current unrest in the country has called into question the legality of the existing permits and the authority to enforce the law.
Hundreds were killed, and thousands have been detained by the junta since overthrowing the elected civilian government that now mostly makes up the shadow government called the National Unity Government. The military has also faced pushback from armed resistance groups that oppose the regime. The junta has also been barred from international meetings and has refused to send a non-political representative to represent the country.
Last week, the United Nations decided that it would postpone its decision on who should represent Myanmar in the face of concerns that Russia could sabotage efforts to reach a consensus in the country.
The UN Credentials Committee, which includes Russia, China, and the United States, started meeting at the end of November to discuss who should represent Myanmar between the current ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun – an appointee by ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi – or an appointee by the junta.