|• Ethnicities||Shan, Palaung|
|Time zone||MST (UTC+6.30)|
Namtu (Shan: ၼမ်ႉတူႈ) is a town in northern Shan State, Burma. Famous for its Bawdwin and Namtu silver mines, it is situated on the Nam Tu River, and is connected to Lashio by the Burma Mines Railway.
The Namtu Bawdwin Mines were the world's largest source of lead, and one of the world's largest sources of silver before the Second World War. Before the British arrived in the 1880s, the Saopha of Tawngpeng controlled the mines at Namtu, although the mining work was undertaken not by the Palaung but by the Chinese from Yunnan Province across the border. The mines fell into disuse when the lode was followed to the ground water level. They were revived by the British and the largest mines were operated by the Burma Corporation at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the Namtu mines are under state control, known as No 1 Mining Enterprise and run by the Ministry of Mines.
A Chinese company won the contract in 2002 for the construction of a zinc oxide plant at Namtu, processing 50,000 tonnes of zinc slag annually and the zinc oxide to be exported to a smelter in Yunnan.
The Shan State Army (SSA-North)'s Third Brigade has been active in Mongmit, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Namtu and Lashio. It reached a cease-fire agreement with the Burmese military government (SLORC) in 1989, and its activities have been severely curtailed. The Palaung State Liberation Organization, also active in the region and another one of the cease-fire groups, announced a ban on the cultivation of the opium poppy in the area under their control. They had alleged that the Burmese military was levying a tax on the poppy farmers.
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