Ministry of Mines threatens gold debtors with penalty

The companies have signed mining contracts with the state which provide for in-kind payments of gold, he said. The gold – a total of 200 viss, which equates to 20,000 ticals or 10,540 troy ounces – is owed from contracts starting in the 2007-08 financial year.

Yesterday, internationally gold was at US$1119 a troy ounce, meaning the 20,000 ticals equated to $11.79 million on international markets. At K756,000 per tical, this equates to K15.1 billion or $11.94 million on local markets.

The No (2) Mining Enterprise, which is a state company under the Ministry of Mines responsible for minerals such as tin and refined gold, has met with companies pushing them to cough up their payments.

However, U Than Daing said so far not all the payments have been forthcoming.

“The state has requested the companies to submit gold. Some companies have come, but some haven’t,” he said.

The government initially aimed to have the arrears cleared by 2014-15 financial year, though much of it has not been contributed.

The deadline has since been extended to the current financial year.

The Ministry of Mines previously charged three out of an initial five companies it fingered for failure to pay. It has now announced plans to charge another 21 companies for their failure to pay 35 viss of gold that they owe.

U Than Daing said some of the companies have not paid gold because their mining activities have come up short.

“Some say they’re not running a mine so shouldn’t have to pay, and others say they don’t even have a land plot to mine on. Others face losses. The companies are giving lots of excuses,” he said.

Charging companies is the final step, and the ministry is working to ensure that it only charges those companies which are totally responsible for the debt.

The companies that are being charged are from Kachin, Shan and Mon states as well as Sagaing and Mandalay regions.

Trials are a significant headache for mining companies, particularly those which mine in far-flung places, and are best for companies to avoid, said U Than Daing.

He added it is possible for companies to plead their case and be taken off the list of owing payments.

U Kyaw Win, secretary of the Myanmar Gold Entrepreneurs Association, said the Ministry of Mines is clearly making a push for debts.

“Some companies just don’t want to pay, but others are companies that really have problems,” he said.

U Kyaw Win added that 90 percent of the companies on the government list are not included in the association, so it is difficult to comment on their situation.

Source: Myanmar times

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