Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

1m acres of mineral depositories suspended

More than 1.18 million acres reserved as mineral depositories will be restricted, prohibiting local and foreign investments from extraction activities, said U Ahtar Hlaing, deputy director from the Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

In Myanmar, mineral depositories have been allocated to be used as resource reserves, with a total area of 1,187,492 acres, according to U Khin Maung Yi, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation, who told reporters during a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw on April 24.

According to the permanent secretary, 1,168,345 acres were allocated for coal extraction and these acres are in Sagaing Region (865,442 acres) and Magwe Region (302,903 acres). Similarly, 11,100 acres were granted for graphite extraction in Mandalay Region and 8047 acres in Kachin State for iron and mineral extracting. In total, 1,187,492 acres were reserved as mineral depositories.

These areas will now be restricted without allowing any access to local or foreign investment parties. Only the remaining areas will be available for them, said U Ahtar Hlaing.

“Currently, we will restrict [exploration]. We may withdraw this restriction at some point in the future when it is appropriate. It depends on the situation. This restriction has to be made according to the current environmental status,” he said.

Apart from small and large-scale mining blocks which have been permitted, the remaining blocks will be suspended but state-run research projects will be allowed – in collaboration with either the state or national ministry, he added.

There are a few mineral depositories on the border between Chin State and Sagaing Region where mineral resources are plentiful, but Kachin State, Shan State and Sagaing Region are major mineral-rich areas.

There are many gold reserves in Kachin State and Sagaing Region, which also boast large copper and mineral mines. Tin, tungsten and iron are commonly available in eastern Shan State, U Ahtar Hlaing explained.

Two coal mining blocks in Sagaing Region and three coal mining blocks in Magwe Region will be included in the areas under restriction.

The Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration has just made demarcations for mineral deposit reserves.

Despite the fact that the amount of mineral deposits has been calculated, the exact figure of mineral deposits can’t be confirmed because some of the deposits were already extracted and some are being extracted illegally, he said.

“We’ve made some calculations but there needs to be a consideration of how many [deposits] have been extracted.

“There remains the fact that there are illegal extraction activities taking place. So we can’t come up with an exact figure.

Resources still remain,” the deputy director said.

Since July 2016, permits for the new mineral mining blocks have been suspended, so mineral extraction activities have been limited, said U Khin Maung Yi.

U Htay Aung, permanent secretary from the Ministry of Resources and Environmental Conservation told reporters on April 24 that permits for new mineral mining blocks have been suspended but the government will review applications of new mining blocks after enacting new rules on mining.


 

Translation by Win Thaw Tar and Zar Zar Soe