Philippines minning giant Philex to explore Myanmar

Yangon—Myanmar’s business leaders have welcomed the planned entry of the Philippines’ biggest mining firm in its extractive sector, but raised concerns on the need for environmental safeguards to ensure responsible industry development.

Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Myanmar vice president Maung Maung Lay said fresh investments from Philippine firms would be a “win-win scenario” for both countries.

Philex Mining Corp., headed by businessman Manuel Pangilinan, started talks with possible partners in Myanmar for the mining of copper.

“We welcome the entry of Philippine companies. They are our partners. But we also have to make sure you don’t just extract our resources and leave it at that,” Lay said in an interview.

Myanmar is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, precious stones, and natural gas.

The Mogok Valley in north central Myanmar is the source of the majority of the world’s finest rubies and sapphires.

Hla Sai, a parliament member from the National League for Democracy, however, said unsustainable mining already caused “over 50 or 60 mountains” to disappear in the town of Hpakant.

“There are only around 10 mountains left for jade mining,” Sai said, noting that climatic changes began in 2005, when mining companies started using heavy machinery to extract greater quantities of jade.

Source: Manila Standard Today

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