THE value of Myanmar’s mineral exports drastically sank to US$895.6 million last FY2020- 2021, reflecting a drop of $975 million, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated.
The mineral exports hit over $1.87 billion in FY2019- 2020.
The coronavirus related disruptions led to the slump in mineral exports this FY. The heightened COVID-19 measures also shut down the events like gem emporium and expo last year, a trader said.
Additionally, Lonekhin, Phakant, Mawlu and Mawhan gem and jade mining in Kachin State will be temporarily suspended from 1 October 2021 to March-end 2022 to support sustainable resource extraction, and ensure safe and efficient operation of jade and gems mines, according to Myanma Gems Enterprises.
So far, excavation of over 1,250 mining blocks has been permitted on a manageable, small, medium, and large scale, mostly in Mandalay and Sagaing regions, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
Due to the limited extraction of natural resources, exports of forest products and minerals had dropped significantly in the previous years. Permits for mining blocks were suspended in 2016, but after two years, Myanmar’s mining sector has now been opened to local and foreign investors, according to the ministry.
The Myanmar Mines Law was enacted on 24 December 2015, but the law came into force when the rules were issued on 13 February 2018. Under the new regulations, foreign firms can invest in large blocks which cover up to 500,000 acres (about 202,000 hectares), while local firms can invest in all kinds of blocks.
Investors can seek a permit to mine for minerals such as gold, copper, lead and tin. The permits cover prospecting, exploration, and production.
Myanmar’s mineral exports have shown a marked increase in the FY2019-2020, touching $1.87 billion, an increase of $405.48 million compared with the year-ago period, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Oil and natural gas are included in the list of major export items of Myanmar. About six per cent of the country’s total export earnings come from the sale of natural gas. About 80 per cent of mineral products are shipped to external markets through sea trade, while 20 of them are sent to neighbouring countries through border trade channels.