Minister of Mines – Myanmar
Vast Untapped Minerals Resources
The Ministry of Mines, which recently presented a new mining law to parliament, is playing a crucial role in Myanmar’s long-term economic development. The ministry’s mission is to fulfill domestic demand for minerals resources, to export minerals, and to support increased production of minerals for heavy-industry development in Myanmar. Myanmar recently joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and promotes transparency in all mining operations.
Myanmar’s mining sector offers significant opportunities for US investors, according to U Than Tun Aung, Deputy Minister of Mines. He explains, “Foreign investors can invest in any part of of the national mining industry except the mining of gemstones and jade. Foreign investors can also be involved in coal-mining but not for export.”
To reach its full potential, according to the deputy minister, Myanmar’s mining sector needs qualified human resources to handle mining inspections and environmental-protection controls. Myanmar also needs updated mining equipment and technologies, better transport systems for minerals products, better controls on illegal mining and new regulations to control improper mining practices.
Foreign investors can get involved in Myanmar’s mining sector through production-sharing contracts in which the investor contributes 100% of the investment and the government receives a share of the production. Myanmar allows mining companies to sell their products freely on the domestic market and to export processed minerals products but not unprocessed minerals.
Myanmar particularly welcomes US investors in minerals-processing and refining operations in Myanmar as well as in coal-fired power plants for the domestic market. U Than Tun Aung points out, “Myanmar offers access to a vast amount of untapped world-class mineral resources, all in a strategic location between India and China in one of the most heavily populated areas on Earth. Myanmar is very rich in natural resources but lacks technology, capital and machinery. An investor should bring those three things.”