MAC: Mines and Communities

Burma Update: antimony mine ruse

Published by MAC on 2006-06-02

Burma Update: antimony mine ruse

2nd June 2006

Last March we published a story about a tin/antimony processsing plant in Three Pagodas Pass, a border town between Thailand and Burma through which the infamous WW 2 Japanese 'Death Railroad' used to pass. The plant, reportedly owned by the Nawarat Co of Thailand, was briefly closed down at the time because of complaints about toxic fumes and wild-life being poisoned in a lake into which plant effluents flowed. The mine, which provides ore to the plant, is located close to the border around half a day's drive from the town. It employs about 60 workers.

The Australian government has a good website on the possible harmful effects of antimony on health and the environment
[Comment by Eric Snider, Canada]

Attempts on to operate tin and antimony factory outside township

T-B border: Loa Htaw: Independent Mon News Agency

1st June 2006

The owners of the tin and antimony factory in Three Pagoda Pass Township (TPP) on the Thai-Burma border are now trying to operate the factory outside the township after it was ordered to be closed down on May 15, residents said.

Tin is commonly used in various metallic products while antimony is a toxic chemical element used in alloys and electronics.

The military government ordered the closure of the factory in May. But residents believe the factory will continue outside the TPP Township in the near future, said Nai Tu.

"As businessmen they do not want to stop the business and will try to continue at any cost" said U Ni Pon a member of a businessmen's commission that helped the metal processing company. "I am not sure if the factory will be closed down temporarily or for good," he added.

"Residents who were concerned about their health when the factory was in operation are happy with the closure order," said Nai Tu.

The factory was ordered to close down because it was posing serious health problems for the local people because of pollution, according to health officials and residents.

The tin and antimony factory was set up when Dr Soe Win (in charge of the township health department) was away on a trip. It did not have permission from the military's Southeast Command and the health department but got clearance from the mining department and the township authority said a source close to Dr Soe Win.

The Thabyu Mining Co. Ltd owns the factory. The factory's major investors are Thai businessmen.

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