Dam burst prompts action in Dawai
In September in Dawei, Myanmar there was a sudden dam burst related to mining activity, killing a young girl and causing widespread anger among local residents.
For a long time there had been concern about the environmental effects and risks associated with the mining.
As part of his fieldwork project, developed while studying under the 2014 Myanmar Young Leaders Programme in New Zealand, Aung Lwin had decided to establish a dialogue between the mining company and affected local villagers on his return home to address these issues.
He organised a workshop on mining law, environmental conservation and land rights for local farmers, lawyers, environmentalists, and Delco mine workers and managers.
Many, including the Delco managers, said they had no experience of this type of training before.
But the project developed its own momentum when the dam burst.
Throughout, Aung Lwin took a leadership role, participating in negotiations with police, the community, local elders and mine owners to diffuse tensions and to bring about resolution of the issues.
As a result, there was a constructive dialogue at which the mine’s managing directors agreed to most of the villagers’ demands.