Mon 30 Oct 2006
Filed under: Business / Trade,News
Myanmar’s military government wants to keep more than half the gold produced from its largest mine, if a plan to privatize the operation goes through, an official told AFP on Monday.
The government announced two weeks ago that it would privatize at least part of its biggest Kyaukpahto gold mine in the central division of Sagaing.
An official from the No.2 Mining Enterprise, which currently operates the Kyaukpahto mine, told AFP on Monday that the mine could produce an average of 19 kilograms (670 ounces) of gold per month.
“Those who are interested in investing in this gold mine have to pay about 12 kilograms per month” to the government, the official said.
If an investor can produce more than 19 kilograms a month, the government would take 10 percent of the extra amount, he said.
The Kyaukpahto mine is the first gold mine in Myanmar to be privatized. A 2002 study by the US Geological Survey estimated the mine’s production quota at less than 25 kilograms a month.
The current junta has taken steps to liberalize the economy since it took power after crushing a pro-democracy up-rising in 1988.
Myanmar said in late June that it would sell a 49 percent stake in 11 factories in Yangon, Mandalay and Magway, as the government tries to raise much-needed cash.
The previous military dictatorship had spent decades following the “Burmese way to socialism”, which ruined what had been one of the most promising economies in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military since 1962, is one of the world’s poorest nations and is subject to US and European economic sanctions because of human rights abuses and the house arrest of 61-year-old democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s neighbors like China, India and Thailand have been increasing their trade with Myanmar, mainly to tap the country’s natural gas reserves to fuel their own growing economies.