Rare earth mining expanding in Myanmar army’s Kachin ‘Special Region’

China’s imports of rare earths from Myanmar—mostly from a remote corner of Kachin State controlled by a junta-aligned warlord—is now double its own annual production quota

A new report released this week by the UK-based campaign group Global Witness warned about the devastating consequences on the environment and human health of rare earth mining in a remote corner of northeastern Kachin State. 

The mining operations, located in Pangwa and Chipwe townships, are thought to be some of the largest rare earth mining operations outside of China.

The mines are located in one of the most remote and isolated parts of Myanmar, officially known as Kachin State Special Region No. 1. As Global Witness notes in its report, increasing restrictions on rare earth mining in China have led to a huge shift to mining across the border in Myanmar, mostly to an area that has long been the personal fiefdom of Zakhung Ting Ying, an ex-Communist Party of Burma (CPB) commander who formed a pro-army militia, the New Democratic Army—Kachin (NDAK), in. . .

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