MAC: Mines and Communities

Only two foreign firms answer Burma's mining call

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

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.

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