Gold prospectors are paying the military regime for mining rights near the Mali Kha River in Putao District, polluting an area where no mining happened before.
“The water is polluted in the lower part of the Mali Kha River…fishermen can no longer catch fish because its so dirty,” a local told KNG, asking that his name not be used. The murky water has also affected nearby streams and ponds.
He said there’s at least 20 backhoes tearing up the riverbank, about two hours by motorboat from Machanbaw town in northern Kachin State. At the beginning of the year, 50 businessmen were involved in the mining in the area, but this number has already doubled. In some cases, three investors have pooled their resources and bought one excavator, which they all use.
According to locals, the Burma Army, which is stationed in Machanbaw town, accepts bribes of about $500 per month to allow contractors to operate in the area. Most of them are from Putao, Myitkyina, Waingmaw and Bhamo towns.