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Activities and Investment Opportunities in the Mining Sector in Myanmar


The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has a long history of mining in gemstones, gold, silver, amber, antimony, cinnabar and copper sulphate which could be traced back to the regimes of ancient Kings of Myanmar. According to historical records, some of the above minerals has been produced in Myanmar since the fifteenth century and Myanmar has been best known throughout history for the beautiful and rare rubies found at Mogok.

During the British colonial rule, the government granted mining leases mainly to British private companies for producing lead, zinc, silver, tin, gemstones and gold. Myanmar gained independent in 1948 and the government entered into joint ventures with the British companies in the early fifties and sixties all of the private companies were nationalized following the government?s socialist economic development plan. State Economic Enterprises were set-up in all sectors of the economy. Since then mining was carried out mainly by the State and only certain mining activities were permitted for the co-operatives and private individuals.

Myanmar in 1989 embarked on a policy of encouraging foreign investment and invited foreign companies to invest in the mineral sector in Myanmar. The law for the establishment of a Socialist Economic System was repealed in 1988 and the open-door economic policy was introduced and Foreign Investment Law was promulgated in 1989. Since the promulgation of this law there still remain a lot of mineral resources which could be developed. Myanmar is widely recognized which could be developed. Myanmar is widely recognized for its abundance of mineral resources and Ministry of Mines plays an important role in the development of the economy of the country.

The Myanmar Mines Law was promulgated in mid 1994. It adopts the exiting right of the states owner ship of all minerals. All naturally occurring minerals found either on or under the soil of any land and in the continental shelf are deemed to be owned by the State. With this new law, all mining activities are administrated by the ministry of Mines. Rule relating to the Myanmar Mines law is now ready for promulgation and shall be put into effect soon. As mineral resources are very much utilized and as there still exit a large mineral potential, it is the policy objective of the Ministry of Mines to immediately boost up the present production thus fulfilling the growing domestic needs of mineral and metal products and at the same time promoting exports.

Mineral wise, the government would emphasize more on the production of copper, gold, lead, zinc, iron and steel and would welcome foreign participation in these prospects. Privatization of the tin and tungsten mines and mines and industrial mines is also being planned and will be put into effect in the very near future.

Types of possible investment can be through production sharing or profit sharing arrangements. It is also the intention of the Ministry of Mines not to make new investment by itself; rather, it would encourage foreign investor to make them. The Ministry of Mines is prepared to offer new areas or deposits for new projects or to provide raw materials, and existing facilities as its participation in the joint ventures. These participations would be valued on fair and equitable basis so that the foreign investor may receive reasonable return and Ministry may enjoy mutual benefits.