Mineral exports top $1.553 bln in current financial year

Thailand –Myanmar SCI Metal Tech Co.,  Ltd.,   Steel Structure Manufacturing Industry, being seen at Thilawa Special Economic Zone on 22 September, 2019.  Photo: Ye Htut Tin (NLM)
Thailand –Myanmar SCI Metal Tech Co., Ltd., Steel Structure Manufacturing Industry, being seen at Thilawa Special Economic Zone on 22 September, 2019.  Photo: Ye Htut Tin (NLM)

Myanmar’s mineral exports have shown a marked increase this financial year, touching US$1.553 billion between 1 October and 31 July, an increase of $265 million compared with the year-ago period, according to the data from the Ministry of Commerce. In the corresponding period of the previous financial year, mineral exports were pegged at just $1.28 billion. Both private and public sector mineral exports have recorded an increase in the current budget year, with private sector exports valued at $1.069 billion and public sector exports estimated at $484.19 million. So far, excavation of over 1,250 mining blocks has been permitted on a manageable, small, medium, and large scale, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
Due to the limited extraction of natural resources, exports of forest products and minerals had dropped significantly in the previous years. Permits for mining blocks were suspended in 2016, but after two years, Myanmar’s mining sector has now been opened to local and foreign investors, according to the ministry. Within two years of the implementation of the Myanmar Mines Law, the Mines Department has approved 144 out of 3,000 proposed mining blocks and many more blocks are to be granted the permit.
At present, evaluation teams in Kachin, Kayah, Shan, and Kayin states and Sagaing, Taninthayi, and Magway regions are screening mining applications, based on the opinions of the respective departments and the region and state governments. The Myanmar Mines Law was enacted on 24 December 2015, but the law came into force when the rules were issued on 13 February 2018. The ministry undertakes the screening process of the proposals for medium and large-scale mining blocks, while regional and state governments are allowed to process applications for small-scale mining blocks.
Under the new regulations, foreign firms can invest in large blocks which cover up to 500,000 acres (about 202,000 hectares), while local firms can invest in all kinds of blocks. Investors can seek a permit to mine for minerals such as gold, copper, lead and tin. The permits cover prospecting, exploration, and production. Myanmar export sector relies more on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. While export earnings from the CMP (cut, make, and pack) garment businesses are increasing the country’s reliance on natural resources has been decreasing. Myanmar’s mineral products constitute 10 per cent of overall exports. — Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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