Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Authorities revoke 23 mining licences

Vientiane Times, 3 June 2015

A total of 23 mining companies had their business licences cancelled after failing to explain to the Vientiane authorities about their lack of commercial operation. The Vientiane Energy and Mines Department has told these companies to suspend excavation for rhyorite and limestone in Vientiane.

The companies involved in rhyorite excavation were Pasakone construction and bridge repair who were granted a concession to work on 10 hectares, Pasatha stone excavation 10 hectares, PL five hectares, Alysouk three hectares, Vientiane stone and sand 10 hectares, Khounmangda road and bridge construction five hectares, Kasy Houngheuangsub road and bridge construction three hectares, Phetbandith construction three hectares, Bouathip road and bridge construction five hectares, SPV 6.8 hectares, Lao BSS construction five hectares, Sarmpasane Lao five hectares, Panyathilath five hectares, Nhordmouk road and bridge construction eight hectares and BEC survey and design four hectares. For limestone excavation the sole company whose licence was revoked was Phouphanang lime company working on 50 hectares at Nakhouy village in Sangthong district. The remaining companies were involved in consultancy and servicing for mining companies and these are SSPT, Lamcheun, Khanhoungkham Thirakoun mining, KV earth sciences consultant, Lao development consultant service, Lao mining development group and Sabyedy mining.

Effective May 25, the date on which their licences were revoked, these companies no longer have the right to operate their business in mining excavation and no rights to make use of the land that was previously approved by the department. The Vientiane authorities recently announced stricter controls as a means to force a number of non-performing companies to become more active in producing mineral extractions according to their agreement and the regulations. It is thought that many of the companies have avoided paying tax to the government, which is needed for socio-economic development. The mining sector has proved to be a major contributor to revenue collection over the years. Although the government suspended new applications for mining concessions and rubber and eucalyptus plantations until December 31, 2015, investment in Laos has remained stable. The value of Lao mineral exp orts has increased substantially after the expansion of excavation capacity by both domestic and foreign investors. In the five years between 2006 and 2010, the total value of mineral exports was US$2 billion which rose to US$8 billion during the years 2011 to 2015, the Ministry of Energy and Mines reported recently. The major projects involved are the Se pon mine in Savannakhet province, Phubia Mining in Xaysomboun province, potassium in Vientiane and Khammuan provinces as well as the Hongsa Mine in Xayaboury province.

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