The authorities are yet to take action against illegal boats mining gold upstream of the Chindwin River, said Khamti MP.
MP Thein Hlaing Win said: “I reported to the chief minister of Sagaing Region concerning the gold rush in the river, along with photo evidence three months ago. The chief minister ordered police to look into it. But the mining boats are still operating. So, I reported the issue again to the chief minister and the minister for security and border affairs. Still no one took action against the miners. The boats dump slag into the river, upsetting the flow of water, and make it difficult for other boats to travel. If this is to continue, the river will be damaged - so I hope the police take immediate action.”
Boaters said the mining boats have gotten in the way of their travel. “They dig up mud from the bottom of the river and pan for gold. Then they dump the slag back into the river. As time goes mud and rocks accumulate in one spot and obstruct the flow of water. Upstream of the Chindwin is narrow. The slag heaps are invisible when the water rises which is dangerous for boaters. We requested the miners to stop but they would not listen,” said a boater.
Despite an official ban on river mining, some people are still panning for gold in the tributaries in Khamti.