Burma and coal

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Burma and coal
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As of 2011, there is an estimated total coal reserve of more than 270 million tons in Burma, and 16 large scale coal deposits.[1][2] The Department of the Ministry of Energy states, on a web page that hasn't been updated since approximately 2000, that of the 16 major coal deposits, only the Kalewa coal mine and the Namma coal mine are currently operating.[3] However, other coal mines have been subsequently developed, such as the Tigyit coal mine.

Existing coal mines

In its 2009 review of mining in Burma, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that 245,418 tonnes of coal were produced in 2009. The USGS listed Kalewa coal mine in Sagaing near Kalewa, with an annual production capacity of 13,000 tonnes, as the only major operating coal mine. The mine is owned and operated by Mining Enterprise No. 3 (ME-3).[4]

In February 2011, three major contracts were signed for the production of tens of thousands of tonnes of coal in Sagaing Region, starting in 2011. Two of the mines will be in Kalewa township, and one in Mawlaik township.[5]

In a 2011 report by the Pa’O Youth Organisation reported that ME-3 is a state entity under the Ministry of Mining which develops projects in conjunction with domestic and overseas corporations. "The Ministry of Mining reported that in 2011 state-owned enterprises will operate 2.81% of the country’s coal mines, joint venture operations will account for 43.87% and local private companies will operate 53.32%.4 These are spread throughout at least 82 coal mining blocks across the country," the report stated.[1]

The Pa’O Youth Organisation lists additional currently operating coal mines in Burma as being the:[1]

  • Dathwegyauk coal mine near Tamu in Sagain state is based on a deposit estimated to contain 33.9 million tonnes of sub-bituminous coal;
  • Lweje coal mine near Moemauk in Kachin state is operated by ME-3, Ayeyarwaddy Myitpyar and the Bamboo Result Co. Ltd.;
  • Tigyit coal mine near Pinlaung in Shan state is based on a 20 million tonnes lignite deposit and is operated by Shan Yoma Nagar, Eden Group and Shwe Than Lwin;
  • Sam Laung coal mine near Tibaw in Shan state is based on a 1 million tonnes lignite deposit. The mine is operated by AAA Internationl;
  • Maw Taung coal mine near Taninthayi in Taninthayi state is based on a 3.6 million deposit of sub-bituminous coal. The mine is operated by Saraburi Coal Company and Myanmar Economic Corporation.

Coal-fired power stations

Existing coal-fired power stations

The Tigyit power plant is the only operating coal-fired power station in Burma. A Pa’O Youth Organisation report stated that "in September 2001 the regime’s Vice-Senior General Maung Aye arrived and chose the place for the power plant, instructing local military to confiscate over 100 acres of local farm lands. No compensation was provided. The CHMC of China and Eden Group of Myanmar built the plant under the supervision of the Energy Ministry. Construction began in September 2002 and was completed in April 2005."[6]

The group reported in early 2011 that plant has two 60 megawatt generating units and "produces 600 gigawatt hours (Gwh) electricity annually, using 640,000 tons of coal per year from the Tigyit coal mine just one and a half miles away. The electricity is transmitted to a substation in Kalaw. According to Mizzima News, 65 MW of the electricity is slated for transmission to the Pinpet iron factory ... The plant also exports electricity to the nearby Nagar cement plant."[6]

Proposed coal-fired power stations

A 2011 report by the Pa’O Youth Organisation reported that proposed coal-fired power stations include the:[1]

  • Kalewa power station, a proposed 600 megawatt power station is under construction by China Guodian Corporation and Tun Thwin Mining Co., Ltd. The power is proposed to be sold to the Monywa copper project which is operated by Chinese weapons manufacturer Norinco. The output from the Monywa mine will go to China, with a statement in 2009 on the Norinco website saying that the deal would “enhance the influence of our country in Myanmar [Burma]”. The article also noted that a similar agreement will also allow China’s Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Company, the largest steel manufacturer in the world, to mine the Sagaing division for nickel.[7]
  • Mai Khot power station, which is also referred to as Mong Kok, is a proposed 369 megawatt power station which has been proposed to be operated by the Thia company, Italian-Thai Development Plc. It is proposed that the power be exported to the Chiang Rai region of northern Thailand;
  • Htantabin power station, is a proposed 270 megawatt power station. The proposed operators are the Huaneng Lancangjiang Hydropower Co., Ltd of China and Htoo Trading Co., Ltd. of Burma. It is proposed that the power be supplied to factories in three industrial zones of Rangoon;
  • Dawei power station is a 4,000-6,000 megawatt power station which has been proposed to be operated by the Thai company, Italian-Thai Development Plc. It has been reported that firms from China, Korea and Japan are also interested. The output from the power station is notionally slated for a major industrial estate that includes a steel mill and petrochemical facilities. (Following the 1989 military coup the city's name was changed from Tavoy to Dawei. Company and government reports on the power station proposal only refer to Dawei while international media and groups refer either to Tavoy or Dawei (Tavoy).)
  • Rangoon Division power station, a proposed 1080 megawatt power station. The Pa’O Youth Organisation report states that "plans to develop these plants yet how the power will be used has not been disclosed."
  • Kawthoung power station is a proposed 6 megawatt power station. The Pa’O Youth Organisation report states that "no details available, yet the Thai company Saraburi Coal mines the nearby Maw Taung coal deposit."

Citzens groups campaigning on coal mining

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pa’O Youth Organisation, Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma’s largest coal project at Tigyit, Pa’O Youth Organisation, January 2011. (Pdf)
  2. Kyaw Kha, "2,000 people report skin diseases from Tigyit coal mine" Mizima, Jan. 21, 2011.
  3. Department of the Ministry of Energy, "coal Sub-sector", Department of the Ministry of Energy website, accessed April 2011.
  4. Yolanda Fong-Sam, The Mineral Industry of Burma: 2009, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, April 2011. (Pdf)
  5. Juliet Shwe Gaung, "Sagaing coal deals inked" Myanmar Times, Jan. 31, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pa’O Youth Organisation, Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma’s largest coal project at Tigyit, Pa’O Youth Organisation, January 2011, page 24. (Pdf)
  7. Francis Wade, "Shouldering China’s toxic burden" Democratic Voice of Burma, March 23, 2011.

External resources