Jade Mining in Kachin State – Environmental Management Plans
This Advisory Paper (in English and Myanmar) on how to achieve safer and more environmentally friendly practices in the jade mining areas of Lonkhin and Hpakant in Kachin State, with suggestions for inclusion of yemasay/scavengers, together with a suite of ten similar draft Environmental Management Plans for various areas, were undertaken in 2016/2017 by Coffey-Valentis. Initial drafts were submitted to government in Q3 2017. At government request, these draft EMPs were split into two on Large-Scale Mining (LSM) EMP (English, Myanmar) and Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (English, Myanmar) for each block. Sample EMPs for Zone 1 LSM and ASM are provided here.
The EMPs were compiled by Coffey-Valentis for Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association (MGJEA) at the request of the Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) in their capacity as regulatory authority responsible for the regulation and marketing of jade and other gemstones in Myanmar. The work on artisanal miners was supported by Estelle Levin(now Levin Sources), experts in this field, and also by Myanmar consultancy, Total Business Solutions.
The requirement on the companies tendering for the work to submit the documents in the form of an EMP was imposed by MGE/MGJEA. A better format for pre-existing activity would have been to conduct an Environmental Compliance Audit (foreseen in Article 8 of the EIA Procedure) and then a Strategic Environmental Assessment (Article 123/124 of the EIA Procedure).
However, the documents submitted by Coffey-Valentis, including the additional Advisory Paper, sought to situated the problems of environmentally destructive and dangerous jade mining in a more strategic way, and gave recommendations to the government on how to address them. The EMPs were submitted to include pro-forma templates for individual companies to be used as auditable and enforceable EMPs, appropriate for both existing and new licences.. These could then be completed and implemented by all mining companies and assist in reducing loss of life and environmental and social impacts, together with necessary training for mining companies, mines inspectors and ECD.
To date, no implementation action has been taken by Myanmar Gems Enterprise or other authorities.