The government has refused to grant permission to additional private companies for the exploring or mining of strategic minerals namely gold, silver, copper, a minister has said.
Some mining companies have had licenses revoked or suspended from mining and related activities following findings that they lack experience in the mining industry or have had poor business performance. Other companies have been warned to take corrective measures in line with the Mining Law of the Lao PDR.
“Mining investment has become quite complicated in recent years and some mining companies have shown ineffective performance. However the government has issued an order prompting further inspections and examinations of mining companies,” said Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath.
There are 657 companies that have been granted permission to invest in the mining industry in Laos. They operate 942 mining operations across the country. These include 226 companies allowed by central government and 400 companies approved by provincial authorities.
Across the country there are 80 companies conducting mining activities and 146 companies conducting prospecting and surveying activities.
Gold, silver, copper, lead, potassium, and gypsum are mostly mined in the country.
Minister Khammany said that the GDP of the electricity and mining sector for the past five years was 95 trillion kip (over US$11.5 billion) including 68 trillion kip shared by mining sector and 27 trillion kip shared by electricity sector.
Electricity has grown by 15% annually, meanwhile mining sector has grown at the slower pace of 6% annual growth due to plunges in the prices of gold, copper, silver and iron in the world market, though the minister expects that mineral prices will climb in 2017.
Source: Lao News Agency