Gold miners form a human chain to toss large rocks out of a new pit mine near the aborted Myitsone Dam project in northern Burma. In order to force local Kachin villagers to relocate from the dam area, the Myanmar government outlawed private gold mining, instead giving the mining concessions in the area to outside companies. These miners are neither locals nor ethnic Kachins, just miners from other parts of the country brought in to work.
The dam project, which was financed by China to help feed China’s growing need for energy, has been suspended because of local and national outrage over the project. This is, ironically, good news for the miners brought in to replace the locals, because the locals are still not allowed to mine, and now the mines won’t be flooded by the dam anytime soon. “We’re glad the dam is suspended,” one of them told me. “We just want to keep working.”
More from R&K’s initial 2011 trip to Myanmar here.