Mineral exports top $1.87 bln in FY2019-2020

Myanmar’s mineral exports have shown a marked increase, touching US$1.87 billion in the past financial year 2019-2020, an increase of $405.48 million compared with the year-ago period, according to the data from the Ministry of Commerce. In the corresponding period of the FY2018-2019, mineral exports were pegged at just $1.465 billion. Both private and public sector mineral exports have recorded an increase in the current FY, with private sector exports valued at $1.35 billion and public sector exports estimated at $520.6 7million. 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 a period of 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 more than 140 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. At the same time, 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 partnerships. Investors can seek a permit to mine for minerals such as gold, copper, lead and tin. The licences cover prospecting, exploration, and production. Myanmar’s mineral products constitute 10 per cent of overall exports. About 80 per cent of mineral products are shipped to external markets through sea trade, while 20 of them are sent to neighbouring countries through border trade channels. — Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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