MAC: Mines and Communities

More problems for the small metal mining companies, this time the focus is on the tin/tungsten miner

Published by MAC on 2006-02-13

More problems for the small metal mining companies, this time the focus is on the tin/tungsten miners, whose operations are concentrated in Tavoy-Yebyu area. Burma was once the main source of tungsten in the world but production of both metals has trickled away to practically nothing in recent years, since the Mawchi mine has virtually ceased to function.

Tumbling tin prices trouble Myanmar miners

Yangon: Kyaw Thu: Myanmar Times

13th February 2006

Decreasing tin-tungsten prices on the world market are hampering Myanmar operations as miners struggle to make excavation of the metal profitable amid high operating costs.

A&A Natural Resources Development Co., Ltd general manager U Saw Han said the drop in world prices combined with the high cost of fuel and its irregular supply meant mining operations couldn't continue aggressive production methods. Tin was down to about US$3450 per tonne this month from $4525 in March 2005. "We have to buy diesel from the black market where the price is very high, so we can't produce at full capacity.

But we're trying our best," he said of the company's Kolanta mine in Dawei District.

Myanmar Tin-Tungsten Company director U Khin Maung Htay said the mining companies sometimes could not acquire enough diesel and this slowed production. "But we can't stop production because if we do we'll be the ones to lose out," he said. "We expected to produce five to seven tonnes of tin-tungsten a month and we expect to reach the target," he said. If the target wasn't met the company would not turn a profit, he added.

Other tin miners were beginning to shift to the excavation of higher-paying minerals rather than face profit reductions and uncertainty in the tin industry, U Khin Maung Htay said. U Zaw Min, a spokesman for Delco Company, which mines tin in Dawei district, said Delco's production was down slightly on last year.

[Thanks to Eric Snider for compiling and commenting on this information]

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