Applied Environmental Research


Kyi Htun

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Myanmar is endowed with abundant natural and mineral resources. However, environmentaldegradation and social impacts have increased in recent years due to foreign investment in the mining sector and the application of modern technology in mining and processing methods to increase productivity. The growing trend towards new mining methods, particularly the shift from underground to open-cut method to mine and process low-grade ores contribute to generation of large volumes of waste rock and tailings, presenting a major disposal challenge. Wastes containing sulfides will further degrade the environment. Absence of an efficient legal framework for Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) for gold and gemstones, and the application of mechanized mining both contribute to adverse environmental and social impacts of mining operations. Myanmar's newly-promulgated environmental law (2012) provides no details about environmental and social impact assessment and participation of communities and their role in conservation of the environment. Efficient guidelines are needed and continuous monitoring and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) are essential for the greening of Myanmar's mining sector.

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