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
NameMong Kok (Mai Khot) coal mine and power station, Shan State, Myanmar
ProvinceShan State
SiteMong 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)Thermal power plants
Coal extraction and processing
Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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].

The coal-fired power plant:

According to the 2011 “Save Mong Kok from Coal” report [1], the Italian-Thai Power Company Ltd. was granted a permission to construct a 405 MW coal power plant, based on 3 units of 135 MW each. 369 MW would be sold to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) over a period of 25 years. 80 km of 230 kV power lines would be built to send the electricity to Chiang Rai province in Thailand. According to, EGAT expected the plant to generate up to 15,000 MW of electricity power over 20 years of operation [6].

The coal mine:

According to the 2011 “Save Mong Kok from Coal” report [1], the coal deposit consists of 120 million tons of lignite coal, located in a 30 km2 (3,000 ha) area. A concession to extract 5,000 tons of coal per day for export to Thailand (1.5 million tons/year) was granted to the Italian-Thai subsidiary Saraburi Coal Co., Ltd. Coal would be extracted through an open-pit mine.

Frontier Myanmar reported that the military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation is also involved in the project [11].

No information on the investment size of the coal mine and the power plant could be found. For the construction of the transmission line, it was reported that in 2011, the Thai government had approved a budget of 2,740 million Baht [7].
Project Area (in hectares)3000 ha (coal deposit area)
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationseveral thousands
Start Date2007
Company Names or State EnterprisesItalian-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 actorsMyanmar Investment Commission (MIC)

Minister of Electricity and Energy

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC)

Department of Mines

and others
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersHark Monk Kok (Love Mong Kok), [email protected]

Toward Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), (Thailand),

Shan Human Rights Foundation,

and others
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
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 MobilizationCommunity-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
OtherExposure to pollution from coal mining and burning
Socio-economic 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
OtherPotential decline in tourism along the Kok River [1].

Internally displaced people (IDPs) will be unable to return home [4].
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
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 as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Social mobilizations achieved to stall the project for several years. However, recently, it seems that the project has resumed.
Sources and Materials

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

1994 Myanmar Mines Law
[click to view]

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

2012 Foreign Investment Law
[click to view]

2014 Myanmar Electricity Law
[click to view]


[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]

Other Documents

Cover of the civil society report Hark Mong Kok, 2011 "Save Mong Kok from coal"
[click to view]

Road construction through a Lahu village Hark Mong Kok, 2011 "Save Mong Kok from coal"
[click to view]

Construction alongside villagers' daily activities Hark Mong Kok, 2011 "Save Mong Kok from coal"
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update05/07/2018