The gold mining industry that has evolved and diversified in the post-war, modern era has thrown open challenges to industrialists throughout the world enticing them to invest in operation of gold mines. Establishment of more and more gold mines provides opportunity of improved infrastructure, tax revenues and skilled jobs in the mining countries.
The overall benefit in investing in gold mines is enjoyed not only by its investors but also by suppliers of machinery, investors, communities, employees and governments. Responsible gold mining ensures economic development in a host countries, not just those which have active mining.
Myanmar, though its production of gold is not that high, is still considered to have considerable opportunities for exploration and mining of gold.
Gold and Mineral Sources
Myanmar is strategically located at the advantageous merging point of cultural and ecological zones of Asia. The country is blessed with a variety of biological diversity and ethnicity. The country is a treasure of natural resources which is not fully explored due to the political situation over the past decades.
Poverty and conflicting political scenario in the country has led to some exploitation of its natural resources of gems, minerals, petroleum and teak woods that are in demand all over the world.
Kachin state in Myanmar holds the distinction as one of the only two sources in the world to have imperial jade as well as some of the finest sapphires, rubies, diamond and amber in the world.
It is reported that gold deposits are widely scattered in the ethnic areas of Myanmar and some large scale excavations to unearth gold is in the exploration stages.
The statistics provided by the Myanmar Government mostly provide information of mining in the areas where ethnic Burmese live in majority. But the statistics do not provide information on production of Gold in Shwegyin, in Karen State (which literally means ‘gold mining’) due to political reasons.
However, there were 18.2 metric tons of gold reserve projected by the United Nations in 1996, and it is considered to be of very lower estimate, in the absence of gold reserves fully recorded by the country.
Gold Reserves and Production in Myanmar
According to an ASEAN report, it is understood that base metals including gold have been exported by Myanmar earning considerable amount during the years from 1991-1997, but the secretive nature of this government means that actual gold exports are unknown.
Asia consumes an estimated 70% of the gold produced in Myanmar, particularly India having the biggest consumer market. Prospects of exports to China are also in the upswing to satisfy its demand for gold jewelry due to its economic growth. It is reported that gold produced in Kachin State of Myanmar, is mainly consumed in the domestic market and markets in China due to its proximity to China.
The Government of Myanmar offers opportunities to expatriate companies to conduct prospecting and exploration of minerals within the country. Myanmar has been referred as the ‘Golden Land’ as gold is used for domestic, Buddhist religious purposes and as a secured form of investment.
Some people of Myanmar consider Investment In gold jewelry is equivalent to deposit in banks, due to the uncertain political situation in the country. Foreign direct investment has increased the growth of gold mining industry but the growth officially recorded and actually produced is different due to the political reasons.
The state officials in Myanmar holds the rights to all resources that are available under the earth and mining is covered under Myanmar mining laws(1994) and Myanmar mining rules(1996) which are considered weak but the signing of International environmental agreements and conventions by Myanmar has encouraged investments in the mining sector.
The gold mining industry with its varying types and scale is now a global business. It has extended its arms with its operations including into the deep jungles in Myanmar. There is certainly more exploration to come. Political stability will have the largest impact on Myanmar’s future as a major gold producer.
It has already proven to be a significant source of some of the Earth’s rarest minerals. Future prospecting in Myanmar has the potential to uncovered considerable rich deposits that have yet to be found beneath the surface.
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Asia Gold Map