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Mong Kok (Mai Khot) coal mine and power station, Shan State, Myanmar

Campaigns and protests by Shan and Thai groups against the coal mine and power plant have achieved to stall the project for several years.


The Mong Kok (also referred to as Mai Khot) coal mine and power station is a project proposed in eastern Shan State Myanmar in an area where Shan, Lahu and Akha farmers have been living for generations based on traditional farming and fishing practices. The project, initiated with the aim to export both coal and electricity to Thailand, has provoked vast concerns over its social and environmental impacts in both Shan State, Myanmar, as well as neighboring Chiang Rai province, Thailand [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mong Kok (Mai Khot) coal mine and power station, Shan State, Myanmar
State or province:Shan State
Location of conflict:Mong Kok/Mai Khot
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Land acquisition conflicts
Coal extraction and processing
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Thermal power plants
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The coal mine and power plant project is located in Mong Kok, about 40 km north of the Thai border. Mong Kok is sometimes also spelled Mong Khoke, and also known as Mai Khot [1,6].

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Project area:3000 ha (coal deposit area)
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:several thousands
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited (Italthai) from Thailand
Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) from Myanmar
Saraburi Coal Co. Ltd from Thailand - developer
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) (EGAT) from Thailand
Relevant government actors:Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC)
Minister of Electricity and Energy
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC)
Department of Mines
and others
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Hark Monk Kok (Love Mong Kok), [email protected]
Toward Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), (Thailand),
Shan Human Rights Foundation,
and others
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
ethnic Shan, Lahu and Akha [1].
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition
Other Health impactsExposure to pollution from coal mining and burning
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsPotential decline in tourism along the Kok River [1].
Internally displaced people (IDPs) will be unable to return home [4].
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Compensation was far too little to replace the damages [1].
The road project to transport the coal through Mae Fuh Lang was cancelled [1].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Social mobilizations achieved to stall the project for several years. However, recently, it seems that the project has resumed.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure
[click to view]

1994 Myanmar Mines Law
[click to view]

2014 Myanmar Electricity Law
[click to view]

2012 Foreign Investment Law
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] The Nation, 02 June 2012 "Energy-sector delegation to visit Myanmar" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[9] 2017 REPORT "Coal: a Public Health Crisis in Myanmar". Published by Greenpeace, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Earthrights International, Alarm, Myanmar Green Network, 2017. (accessed online 29.06.2018).
[click to view]

[4] Update by the Shan Human Rights Foundation, 30 August 2017 "As conflict escalates in Shan State, aid must not be cut off to Shan-Thai border refugees" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[6] entry on "Mai Khot power station" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[8] The Irrawaddy, 25 July 2011 "Burma Coal Mine Spells Disaster for Environment" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[1] Hark Mong Kok, 2011 "Save Mong Kok from coal" Report published by Hark Mong Kok in July 2011. (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[10] PYO and KAN 2011 "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma's largest coal project at Tigyit". Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO) and Kyoju Action Network (KAN). (accessed online 11.06.2018).
[click to view]

[3] Oxford Business Group "Changing priorities: Coal is set to take a greater share of the country’s energy mix" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[5] Mizzima, 25 July 2011 "Local people protest coal mining in eastern Shan State" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[11] Frontier Myanmar, 29 November 2017 "The borderline Shan: Anxious and facing hunger" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

[7] TERRA Briefing paper, 15 October 2013 "Public Forum on Ethics of Thailand Investment in Myanmar's Power Sector" (accessed online 05.07.2018).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update05/07/2018
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