MAC: Mines and Communities

British mine financier bids for Burma mining concession

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

British mine financier bids for Burma mining concession

There is a longstanding call - by, among others, the ILO and the ICEM - to boycott all minerals involvement in Burma while human rights and democracy are wilfuly denied by the military regime. Now defying this call is a British-based outfit and a Chinese firm.

Only two foreign firms answer Burma's mining call

Agence France Press

Rangoon, Dec 1 2002

Only two foreign companies have submitted bids to prospect for minerals in 42 blocks of land in the latest bidding round offered by the Burmese military junta, a report here said.

Britain's Lion Mining Financing Company offered to explore for platinum in northernmost Kachin state, while Chinese firm Deli Ruili Pearl and Jewels expressed interest in searching for lead, zinc and silver in northeastern Shan state, sources close to the Ministry of Mines told the Myanmar Times.

They were the only firms to submit bids for operations in 42 exploration blocks in the two states as well as in northern Sagaing and central Mandalay divisions, the semi-official weekly said in its edition to be published Monday.

Closing date for the bids was November 18, after the original date was extended by a month, it said.

The bidding round was the fourth open to foreign companies since 1994, and was aimed at developing more of the impoverished country's natural resources, it added.

Ivanhoe Mines of Canada is involved in a 50-50 joint venture partnership with the government in the huge and controversial Monywa copper project, which began in 1998 and produces 27,500 tonnes of copper a year.

Monywa has caused controversy in Canada, where rights groups have linked the project to mass conscription of forced labour and called for Ivanhoe to cease investment in Burma.

Eric Snider comments: Colin Bird and his Lion Mining Finance and various associated subsidiaries specialize in the financing of mining ventures in just about every corner of the world. Precious metals, including gold, platinum and palladium seem to be favoured. Earlier this year he was a key figure in setting up Jubilee Platinum which has set staked out platinum interests in the Bushveld (Anglo American Platinum) in South Africa, as well as Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia and north of Thunder Bay in Ontario where North American Palladium has one of the most productive palladium mines in the world. Bird also has his finger in the pie in a gold project of Freegold Ventures near the Kinross Fort Knox mine at Fairbanks in Alaska. Freegold is listed on the Toronto Exchange.

The Tiger Resources - Leeward Capital consortium located gold-platinum occurences on their concession southwest of Indawgyi Lake near the border of Kachin State and Sagaing division in 97-98 but apparently without exploitable potential.

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