MAC: Mines and Communities

Burma Update

Published by MAC on 2006-03-11

Burma Update

11th March 2006


Based on news from DPA, Reuters, AFP

The Indian government signed a deal this week that will provide a military company in Burma access to remote sensing data collected by two imaging satellites operated by a state-owned company in India.

The satellite deal will allow the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) to use imagery collected by Indian satellites IRS-PS and IRS-P6 which can be applied both to agricultural projects or to survey for minerals. The satellites are owned by Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of India's Department of Space and its National Remote Sensing Agency.

The service will be extended to MEC at a cost of 1.6 million dollars per annum and will be subsidized by the government of India to the tune of 600,000 dollars annually for a period of three years, according to the agreement, that was signed on Thursday by Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Shyam Saran and Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Kyaw Thu. The signing came during a first-ever official visit by an Indian president to Burma.

The Myanmar Economic Corporation is a private holding company that is 100% owned by active duty military personnel in the Burmese armed forces. It has interests in a wide variety of businesses that include banking, insurance, steel, cement, mining, information technology, medical equipment, food processing, trading and business facilitation among others. lt is currently invested in several companies that mine rubies at Mogok and Mong Hsu, as well as in a gypsum mine in Hsipaw township.

Large sections of Burma's potentially mineral-rich border areas with India, China and Thailand have still not been geologically mapped and surveyed. The Department of Geological Surveys and Mineral Exploration of the Ministry of Mines covers the technical side of mapping and exploration for minerals.

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