China plans to buy heavy mineral sands from Arakan coastline

Rathidaung: A group of businessmen from Chinese company are reportedly planning to buy heavy mineral sands from the coastline of Arakan State.

A beach in Arakan

A beach in Arakan

The group Gold finder is said to be interested in buying the sands from the coasts in Rathidaung and Maungdaw Townships, after they have found that the sands contain aluminium and titanium deposits.

When contacted to U Aung Than Tin, the Minister of Forest and Mining of the Arakan State Government, said, “It is now at the experimental stage. The group is allowed by our regional government and they are now going to investigate the sands on the shores of Alaethankyaw in southern Maungdaw Township and of Ahngumaw in southern Rathedaung Township. We have learnt that they are impressed with the sands because they have found deposits of minerals such as titanium in the sands.”

He said the group will coordinate with the government after their investigation is completed.

A local resident from Rathidaung also said a team of Chinese nationals accompanied by local officials of the land survey department recently conducted a geological survey and investigation on the beach of Ahngumaw in the township.

“A group of Chinese nationals visited our town a few days ago. They left for Ahngumaw by an engine-boat along with officials of the land survey department. We heard that they have made some land-grams after conducting geological surveys on the seashore of Ahngumaw. But we still do not know what they will do on the beach”, said the resident.

He said the Chinese businessmen extracted sands from the Ahngumaw’s seashore in 2010 and 2011 and stopped their business after being inhibited by the authorities.

“They had extracted sands after digging a depth of 6 feet with machinery on the shore of Ahngumaw and shipped the sands after packing in the bags to Rachanpyin in Sittwe. They had taken some of those bags to China, but another 30,000 bags are still left in piles at Nasaka Station in Ahngumaw and near a shrimp pond in Rachanpyin”, he said.

It is learnt that this is the second time the Chinese businessmen are planning to buy mineral sands from the coastline in Arakan State.

A Burmese geologist who has conducted practical experiments on the sands from the seashores in Ahngumaw and Alaethankyaw on condition of anonymity also said that heavy minerals such as aluminium and titanium are found in the sands along the coastline between Ahngumaw and Alaethankyaw and that Arakan State will be highly benefited by exporting those heavy mineral sands to Singapore.

The local residents however worry that they will suffer from bad impacts such as environmental damages and losses of marine creatures without getting any benefits if the sand mining for extraction of minerals from their coastline starts.