Myanmar produces a variety of mineral commodities, including coal, copper, lead, natural gas, petroleum, petroleum products, precious and semiprecious stones, tin, tungsten, and zinc. The major mineral mining operations in the country are extracting coal, copper and gold. Smaller operations are extracting iron, lead, limestone and zinc. Mining growth in Myanmar could potentially benefit various allied and ancillary industries in addition to providing and promoting employment opportunities and economic development. The mining industry plays an indispensable and catalytic role in various industries like transportation, construction, mining equipment, power, logistics industry and many more.
By the end of November 2012, total foreign investments in the country by permitted enterprises totaled nearly US$ 40 Billion. Currently, China is the largest investor in Myanmar's mining sector, mainly in copper. Thailand is the second largest foreign investor, with nearly US$ 9 Billion invested in manufacturing and mining projects. South Korea is the fourth largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) contributor, with 48 projects amounting to US$2.9 billion being undertaken since 1988. Foreign investment of permitted enterprises in mining sector reached nearly US$ 2.8 Billion (6.79%) by the end of November 2012. Investments by Myanmar citizens reached US$ 12 Million till the middle of December 2012. Myanmar's largest mining project is the Tagaung Taung Nickel Mine which is owned by the China Nonferrous Metal Mining Company and the State of Myanmar.
As part of the investment process, Anglo American Plc, a British multinational mining company and one of the world's largest mining group of companies is in talks with Myanmar for possible investment in the mining sector. British mining companies who had withdrawn their investment in Myanmar for years have now started pouring in investments valuing nearly US$100 million after the new government has taken over. Britain was the third biggest investor in Myanmar in the past, but was later surpassed by Hong Kong and Korea. Britain has so far invested about US$2.8 billion in 54 businesses in Myanmar. The Obama Administration has also announced that it will suspend sanctions against Myanmar, including restrictions on U.S. investment in the country's mining industry.
The Ministry of Mines is the Government entity responsible for implementing the Government's mineral policy and for enforcing the laws, rules, and regulations related to the mining sector. Myanmar government is in talks to finalize proposals for its new mining law early next year as part of wide-ranging legislative reforms aimed at boosting investment in the rapidly liberalizing country. Reforms to the country's existing 1994 mining law are aimed at attracting more foreign direct investment to the Southeast Asian country's resources sector, coinciding with significant interest among foreign investors in Myanmar's mineral riches, which include copper, gold, nickel, tin, coal and gemstones.
The new mining law is aimed at encouraging more overseas investment in Myanmar, encouraging more local investment and implementing environmental controls on mining companies. Firms from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia and the U.S. could all be major participants in the growth of the sector, of all Myanmar's resources, copper and nickel deposits are attracting the most foreign interest.
With Western nations now rolling back sanctions, interest from foreign firms is growing. As the exportation of ores is not allowed, the government is encouraging firms to set up mineral processing plants and export the product. Experts believe that, foreign investor interest in Myanmar's mining sector appears to be intense as Myanmar is going to stay on the radar of many mining firms.
(Source: Insight Alpha)