Foreign mining firms are anticipating the passage of a revised mining bill at the national assembly that has already been approved by both the upper and lower houses, U Ko Ko Lat, director of the Mining Department said.
“Chinese firms have the most mining blocks but lately the number of Australian and European firms is increasing. This sector will be more accessible after the law is revised and the by-laws come out,” he said.
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and the Ministry of Mining are jointly responsible for mining block concessions while the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and the Ministry of Mining scrutinise and assess the environmental and social impact.
The old blocks are allocated through tender system and newly discovered blocks will be granted to firms that have submitted proposals after exploration.
Myanmar Foreign Investment Law (2012) allows foreign mining firms to operate only in large mining blocks to protect local smallholder mining businesses. Most of the foreign firms operating in the 12 major mining blocks are Chinese firms.
“Local businesses can access the major blocks by forming joint ventures with foreign firms which will help them get technologies and share investments,” U Ko Ko Lat said.
With Myanmar’s accession into the candidate members of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), civil societies expect the government to disclose dataregarding the tax income from the mining sector and the deals with companies.