Thai and Russian companies make new grabs in BurmaPublished by MAC on 2008-12-30
Thanks to Eric Snider in Canada, here's more unwelcome news of exploitation in Burma, initiated by the military regime in collusion with foreign companies.
Thai and Russian companies make new grabs in Burma
A Thai mining company will supply thermal coal from a mine in eastern Shan state to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). The Saraburi Coal Co, which is based in the Ital-Thai tower on New Petchaburi road in Bangkok, will use the coal from Burma to fulfill the terms of a 9-year supply contract it was awarded earlier in 2008 by EGAT. The contract is worth an estimated US$500 million.
Saraburi Coal will mine the coal at a site near Mongkhok in Monghsat township about 70km from the Thai-Burma border at Chiangrai. The mine was obtained through a concession recently granted by the Nay Pyi Taw regime, the Shan Herald News Agency revealed in a news item published on Saturday [December 20 2008].
It said the Thai company has applied for permission to build a road in the border area. The proposed road would be used to transport 5,000 tons of coal per day, according to a security source quoted by the Shan news group.
In June of 2007, the New Light of Myanmar reported that the military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation was extracting coal on a 'sample' basis from the Mongkhok mine.
It is believed that the nearest coal-fired electricity plant operated by EGAT is its 2400-MW Mae Mo plant in Lampang province about 250km south of the border. Up till now it has been supplied by a coal mine operated by the electricity compnay.
Saraburi already operates another thermal coal mine at Mawtaung in Tenasserim division of Burma. The mine is just across the border from southern Thailand where the coal is used in a power plant that supplies electricity to the steel-manufacturing city of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Saraburi also has interests in a coal mine in Kalimantan in Indonesia. A sister company in the Ital-Thai stable, Asia Thai Mining Co, recently bought out the Pan African Mining Corp with properties in Madagascar where it plans to plans to explore for uranium, gold, coal, precious stones, base metals and industrial commodities. Afterwards Pan African was delisted from the venture index of the Toronto stock exchange.
In other mining news from Shan state, Mizzima News recently reported that an iron mine at Pangpet (Ping Pet), about 13km southeast of the state capital of Taunggyi, would be commissioned in early 2009. It has long been rumoured that the large hematite deposit at Pangpet would be developed, but it has been difficult to obtain hard news about developments at the site.
In a visit to the area in April 2007, the military regime's second-in-command, General Maung Aye, announced that cement and iron plants were being set up at Pangpet, and in June last year, Moscow's ambassador to the Nay Pyi Taw jumped the gun with a surpise announcement that the giant Russian trading company Tyazhpromexport (Technopromexport) would be supplying equipment worth US$150 million to the Pangpet project.
According to the Mizzima story published on December 10, the iron mine and smelter is expected to have a capacity of 200,000 tonnes of cast iron per annum which would be fed to a steel mill presently under construction by the military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation near Myingyan in Mandalay division. Operations at the Pangpet facility would supplied with power by an on-site, 65-MW generating plant, the Mizzima article said, using coal transported from a mine near Tigyit in Pinlaung township.
The New Light of Myanmar, however, has reported that Pangpet is to be supplied with power generated at a 54-MW hydropower station at Kengtawng Falls which may be officially opened as soon as January of 2009. One of the generators at the Kengtawng plant has been providing electricity to towns along the transmission route for several months now.
Source on Saraburi Coal: "SHAN STATE COAL CONTRACT WITH EGAT WORTH HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS", Courier News Service, 27 December, 2008