Ministry of Mines ready for handover

The Ministry of Mines has set its affairs in order and is ready to serve under the incoming government, director general U Win Htein told The Myanmar Times.

All government departments are now preparing to receive the new ministers of the National League for Democracy government that will take over on March 31. At the political level, several meetings have already taken place between existing Union ministers and NLD representatives to ensure a smooth handover of power.

The ministry’s departments, such as the Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration, No 1 and No 2 Mining Enterprise, Myanma Gems Enterprise and Myanma Pearl Enterprise, are all set for the changeover, said U Win Htein earlier this week. He said he had verified that records in all departments in the ministry were in order.

“All the details are there – to whom we granted permits for mining operations or mineral exploration, where we permitted mining sites, what we are doing now and what is left to be done,” he said.

The ministry is still drafting operational guidelines for the implementation of amendments to the Myanmar Mines Law enacted on December 24 and the Myanmar Gemstone Law, amended in early 2016, and has issued an invitation for comment through state-run media.

Ministry officials said the general public, experts, entrepreneurs and stakeholders in related fields have been invited to submit recommendations to the mining ministry’s Department of Mines and to Myanma Gems Enterprise.

The amended Myanmar Mines Law covers three categories of minerals – metallic mineral, industrial mineral and stone. It removes all references to gemstones, which are now covered solely by the Myanmar Gemstone Law.

The changes are material and provide for “an improved platform for foreign investors to explore new opportunities in relation to mining or joint-ventures with existing local permit holders”, said law firm Kelvin Chia Yangon in a client note yesterday.

Foreign investors remain prohibited from investing in prospecting, exploring and producing gemstones.

U Win Htein said the by-laws would be finalised under the authority of the incoming government.

Once the handover is complete, attention will shift to the new government’s plans for merging or abolishing some government ministries.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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