Myanmar opens door for Aust mining

A burst of $US3.6 billion ($A4.85 billion) invested in Myanmar’s oil and gas sector in the past year is a green light for Australian companies involvement, Australian business representatives say.

In 2014, the Myanmar government awarded 40 onshore and offshore oil and gas licences and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum is exploring two offshore areas in the Rakhine Basin.

US consultancy firm McKinsey and Co says Myanmar’s economy is set to report strong growth with national output of $US200 billion ($A269.63 billion) by 2030, up from US$50 billion at present.

Myanmar’s mining sector remains relatively undeveloped. New legislation to boost foreign investment and improve equity sharing with local communities was recently delayed in parliament until after the November general elections.

Glen Robinson, chairman of the Australian-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, says “across the board” Australian companies have a potential role to play through “a significant number of support activities for the mining industry”.

“The miners have to have people, people have to eat, be transported and so on. There’s no reason that Australians should not be involved in those areas,” Mr Robinson said.

Myanmar’s mining potential is seen in gold, lead, zinc, silver and copper as well as tin and tungsten.

Yangon-based Australian lawyer and consultant, John Hancock, says the long term outlook for the mining sector in Myanmar is positive.

The country has a very high level of mineral wealth and the geology is very promising, he told AAP.

Among mining companies in Myanmar are Australian gold explorer, Mineral Commodities, as well as copper and gold explorer, Tigers Realm Group and Eumeralla Resources.

Eumeralla Resources a tin and tungsten explorer, along with local partner, Myanmar Energy Resources Group (MERG) gained regional state approval last year to explore a 400 kilometre square area in eastern Karenni State.

Rights groups fear mining could trigger renewed tensions in the region after past clashes between ethnic Karenni fighters and the Myanmar Army.

Source: Herald Sun

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