This Interview with Naw A--- describes events occurring in Ler Muh Lah Township, Mergui-Tavoy District, during the period between 2010 and August 2017, including a proposed dam project and negative consequences of gold and lead mining.
The Italian-Thai Development PLC (ITD) and a Burma/Myanmar Government Ministry of Electricity administrator conducted assessments for a proposed hydropower dam project several times in 2011 at Tanintharyi River, B--- village, Ler Mu Lah Township, Mergui-Tavoy District without providing any information about the project to local villagers.
Villagers continue to oppose the ITD dam project because of the livelihood difficulties it would create by submerging many villagers’ lands. Therefore, they urge NGOs, CBOs/CSOs, the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burma/Myanmar government to support their effort to halt the dam project.
Naw A--- argues that 100,000 kyat (US $73.38) for each betel nut tree damaged and around 5,000,000 kyat (US $3,669.04) for each acre of land submerged by the potential dam project should be paid by the ITD Company as compensation. In addition, Naw A--- proposes that a further 10,000,000 kyat (US $7,338.08) should be paid as remedy for every dam victim if the dam goes ahead.
Shwey Htun Company and GMS Public Power Company has been conducting a lead and gold mining project in Ta Naw Th’Ree River for more than one year after being granted permission from the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burma/Myanmar government. However, villagers are concerned about the negative health consequences of the companies allowing poisonous mercury to flow into the water that villagers drink.
Villagers and some CBOs/CSOs workers met with the owner of Shwey Htun Company, Ko Cho, in Dawei Town and compelled Ko Cho to drink the mercury contaminated river water next to the gold mining raft after he claimed that the water was drinkable.