Villagers from Nam Mo and Nam Gnone in Xaysomboun district, Xaysomboun province have expressed concerns that nobody will purchase their products following the closing of the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation mine.
We are concerned about our villagers’ fate once the company closes their operation. We might not have a market for our products because Nam Gnone village supplies different vegetables, fruits and meats to the company and 20 percent of the villagers worked at the Phu Kham mine, Nam Gnone Village Chief Mr Syphandone said on June 1.
Nam Gnone, village has a population of over 1,900 people, of whom 992 are female. 70 percent are farmers and 10 percent are traders. The village is near the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation and has so far received considerable benefits from mine, such as employment and even supplying food to the factory, the village chief explained.
I, as a representative of the villagers, have called on the government to help us and seek other markets to support our products and allocate agricultural land because we are afraid of landslides likely to occur during the rainy season due to our highland location, he said.
Since 2008, my family have supplied some vegetables, fruits and meat to Phu Kham, making a general income averaging about 700,000 kip per month, said Nam Gnone villager Kongsy Song.
Phommy Syvanla has a family that supplied about 1,400 kg of fishes per week to the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation since 2012, such as tilapia, hypsibarbus vernayi (papak), grass carp and cat fish.
We also supply some vegetables, which made our average income about 13 million kip per month. If the company closes, we are worried that we will not have a market to sell our products other than small local markets near our village to sell our products at low costs, said Mr Phommy.
After the next five years, Phu Bia Mining will close the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation. We are worried about the local people, especially communities who have provided their products for our company, said Government Relations Manager Manilath Arounlangsy.
Early this year, the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation bought products from Nam Mo and Nam Gnone villagers, including vegetables, fishes, oranges, pineapples, lemons, eggs and drinking water worth over 2.6 billion kip (US$ 316,901), said Ms Manilath.
In addition, we also have more than 30,000 workers currently working for the company who might not be able to find other jobs, she said.
Source: Lao News Agency