Kyaikmayaw Locals Demand Cement Factory Abandon Coal Power

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Locals in Mon State’s Kyaikmayaw Township have opposed the use of coal to power a proposed cement factory, citing environmental degradation.

The June Cement Industry Limited currently has plans to build the factory, and held a public meeting in Mae Hkayo village—where the factory would be located—to provide an overview of their environmental impact assessment on November 17. Locals from Kel Hkayo, Kawt Don, Kawt Panaw, and Kawt One villages attended and responded by demanding an alternative fuel to run the enterprise.

Kyaikmayaw resident Nai Shwe Win was at the meeting.

“They explained about how they would dig for stones by using explosive devices. From the perspective of local people, we don’t want coal to be used in the factory,” he said

Locals in the area have already opposed another cement factory in Kyaikmayaw using coal as a power source—Mawlyamyine Cement Limited (MCL)—and will stand against June Cement Industry for trying to do the same. MCL opened in July 2017 and runs 24 hours each day.

“If they don’t accept the demand of the local people, local people will protest on the road,” Nai Shwe Win told NMG.

June Cement Industry Limited has sought permission from the Union government to run the cement factory with coal-powered electricity.

“We could build the factory after we have permission. Currently, we have yet to get permission from the government,” June Cement Industry Limited’s project director Tin Oo said, adding that the company would work to minimize air and water pollution.

A resident of Mae Hkayo was clear to point out that the locals have decided not to object to the cement factory itself, but to focus on changing to a cleaner power source for the operations.

“Local people have never opposed the construction of the cement factory,” the individual said, but noted that, “if the June company is going to use coal, local people will definitely oppose it.”

June Cement Industry Limited was granted permission in 2016 from the Myanmar Investment Commission to build a cement factory which can produce 5,000 tons of cement per day—the same output as the MCL factory.

Mawlamyine Cement Limited, June Cement Industry Limited, and the Myanmar-Korea Cement Group Company Limited have all received permission from the investment commission to work in Kyaikmayaw Township.