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Caterpillar, Volvo, Komatsu linked to mining abuses in Myanmar - Report

Auto News - Published on Fri, 22 Jun 2018

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Reuters reported that Caterpillar, Volvo and Komatsu contribute to abuses in Myanmar by selling machinery used by domestic mining companies implicated in land expropriation, environmental destruction and armed conflict. The three companies "appear to be the dominant brands" represented in the Hpakant jade mines in northern Myanmar's Kachin state, according to Swedwatch, a Stockhom-based charity.

The research suggested thousands of people had lost their land in the past 15 years, while hundreds may have died each year in landslides and flooding linked to the mines.

Swedwatch said that "Since the early 2000s, the dramatically increased use of heavy machinery in Myanmar has enabled the extraction of minerals at an unprecedented speed."

Myanmar is a major gemstone producer and the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi pledged to tighten controls after a landslide in a jade mine killed more than 100 people in 2015 in Kachin state.

But mining continues apace, and at least 14 people were killed when a slag heap collapsed last month.

Interviewees from Hpakant and the surrounding area told Swedwatch that, as mining ramped up, their land had been illegally confiscated, or they had been pressured to sell.

The report said that hundreds of families lost their farmland, while water sources have become polluted.

Volvo, a Swedish company, told Swedwatch it had probed its Myanmar dealer in relation to corruption.

Spokesman Mr Joakim Kenndal told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that "It is our opinion that we do not in any way contribute to any human rights abuses in Myanmar, which is suggested in Swedwatch's conclusions.”

Mr Kenndal said that "We cannot as a company secure that all our products on a worldwide basis, during their entire life cycle and through a multitude of users, do not end up in situations where there could be a risk for human rights abuses."

Caterpillar, a United States company that is the largest machinery brand globally, said it had no further comment other than that included in Swedwatch's report.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Fri, 22 Jun 2018
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