MEMBERS of the Mon State Hluttaw have carried out inspections of the MCL cement plant in Kyaikmaraw Township after complaints were lodged at the parliament over the use of coal to run the plant.
The inspection team carried out its field study on 1 June. The team consisted of State Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Dr Win Kyi Win, Deputy Speaker of the Mon State Hluttaw Dr Aung Naing Oo as well as other Mon State Hluttaw MPs and the members of staff from the Hluttaw Affairs Committee.
“The Mon State Hluttaw carried out a study on the MCL plant on 1 June in response to a complaint lodged by local residents. The hluttaw has yet to make any decision based on this visit. However, the case is still under review,” said Dr Aung Naing Oo.
Fearing for the side effects the use of coal to power the cement plant would have on the surrounding environment, local residents from nine villages in the vicinity of the plant dispatched an official letter of complaint to the Mon State Hluttaw Affairs Committees, the Mon State government and union-level departments on 25 April.
“We accept whatever projects come to our region. But since both recent projects that have come our way utilise coal to generate electricity, there’s absolutely no way we could accept such a project that would send us quickly into the jaws of death. We’ll vehemently protest our objections to these projects,” said local resident Naing Shwe Win.
Initial field studies for the construction of the plant were conducted in 2011 and 2012, and construction began in 2014 after consultation with local residents. The plant is due to start running this July.
MCL managing director Wijit Terasarun said negotiations were conducted during the term of office of the previous government to provide the 40 megawatts of electricity required to run the plant, which will be supplied in the form of natural gas from the Minister of Electric Power. However, due to complications, a request was granted by the Myanmar Investment Commission in 2013 for the factory to utilise coal to generate the power instead.
“Our factory requires a round-the-clock supply of electricity—a supply that’s not erratic or that fluctuates, which is why we’ll use coal. That said, we’ll conduct our operations within the framework of Myanmar’s enacted natural environmental law to mitigate damage to the environment,” he said. A total of US$400 million has been invested into the production of cement from the Mon State MCL plant, while it has been reported that approximately 40,000 tonnes of coal are being stored within the facility’s grounds ready to act as fuel to generate electricity.