On 10 April, local people organized a prayer service to ask the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to stop all rare earth mining projects in KIO-controlled territory in Bhamo District, Kachin State.
A total of 45 Baptist pastors, who are serving in Bhamo District, and some Catholic monks joined the prayer service activity around 10 a.m. The prayer service was part of wider activities voicing opposition to rare earth mining in the area.
“We organized this prayer service because we want the KIO government to stop all rare earth extraction projects in our area. We oppose rare earth extraction in our region. Local people want the KIO government to listen to the voice of the people. This is the reason why we are having this prayer service,” a member of the Dingsing Pa Anti-Rare Earth Committee told KNG.
Opposition to rare earth mining projects in Kachin State has been gaining momentum recently. On 21 March, local people staged a protest against rare earth mining at Kyein Lap Pa in the Dingsing Pa region of Mansi Township. During the protest some structures on the Chinese company’s mining site were destroyed.
Following this protest against the rare earth extraction project, five Christian pastors representing local people met with General N’ban La, the Chair of the KIO, at the KIO headquarters to discuss rare earth extraction projects in KIO-controlled territory.
Local people said that they haven’t heard about any KIO government decisions regarding stopping rare earth extraction projects in Mansi Township.
Local people said that they will continue their campaign against rare earth extraction projects in the Dingsing Pa and N’ba Pa regions of Bhamo District in Kachin State until all rare earth extraction projects are stopped.