Vientiane Times, 3 September 2014
A Chinese company has invested more than US$3 million to build a rubber processing factory in Long district, Luang Namtha province in order to transmute raw rubber before exporting the goods to China. The contract was recently signed in the province between the provincial Planning and Investment Department and the company. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the provincial Administration Office Head Mr Khamlay Sipaseuth.
According to the agreement, the construction of the factory is set to commence this year and is expected to finish within two years. The factory will have the capacity to process 5,000 tonnes of rubber per year. The facility has a concession period of 30 years, with the construction to be at a total cost of US$3.2 million.
However, the company will have the ability to extend the contract’s concession after consideration is given by the Lao government. When ready, the factory will go into production using raw materials from the company’s rubber plantation and local growers in the district. Authorities plan to have six rubber processing factories across the province. So far, four factories have already been built in Namtha, Viengphoukha and Sing districts, according to provincial Planning and Investment Department Director Mr Xayphone Khounsiriheaung.
This rubber processing factory in Long district will be the fifth, while another one is expected to be built soon in Nalae district, Mr Xayaphone said. “Increasing the number of rubber processing factories in the province will be good for local rubber growers, who will have more choices on where to sell their goods,” he said. “In addition, it will not only generate jobs for local people but also generate income for Luang Namtha province as well as the national economy.”
Luang Namtha province earned over US$13 million (105 billion kip) from the export of more than 13,000 tonnes of rubber last year, according to provincial authorities. The province has more than 33,000 hectares of rubber trees which require more than 6,000 labourers to work in the plantations.