The Ministry of Mining has stepped up a campaign to collect debts from gold mining companies that failed to pay a required portion of the produced gold to the government, U Than Tun Aung, deputy minister for mining told the parliament.
The ministry is also checking the backgrounds of the boards of directors of those companies to ensure that companies don’t dissolve and regroup as a way to evade taxes, he added.
“If a board director of an indebted company is participating in the formation of a new company, the debt will be carried over. The ministry is also collaborating with other departments to force the companies to pay back the debt,” the deputy minister said.
Under production sharing contracts (PSC), private companies in the extractive industries sign a deal with the Ministry of Mines in which the former agrees to pay the latter a percentage of its total output.
The smallest-scale gold miners, those whose mining plots are 20 acres or less, have to pay about 24 ticals (0.24 viss) a year. [One tical, a local unit of measurement, equals 0.582 ounce; 100 tical equals one viss].
A total of 1072.1 viss (1,768.965 kilograms) of gold is owed in debt to the government, claims a report from the Office of the Auditor General of the Union. So far, companies have paid of 215.85 viss (356.15 kilograms) to the government.
In the 2012-13 fiscal year, three companies who had debts totalling 533.42 viss (880.143 kilograms) of gold appealed to the government as they faced technical obstacles and investment problems, and the ministry renewed the contract for eight years.