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Tunnelling ahead as Laos-China railway proceeds on track

Source: Vientiane Times, July 15, 2017
Construction of the Laos-China railway project is progressing as scheduled despite some work requiring a pause due to the rainy season, officials in charge said.
Work on boring tunnels is carrying on, project coordinator for Luang Namtha province Mr Chanthachone Keolakhone told Vientiane Times via telephone on Wednesday.
Mr Chanthachone said Lao and Chinese officials had worked hard to bore tunnel entrances before the rainy season so that rainfall would not delay construction.
Naturally, work inside the tunnels can be carried out without little regard to weather conditions outside.
Mr Chanthachone said that all three tunnels are being bored with the Boten Tunnel having progressed the furthest at more than 120 metres.
The Teentok Tunnel is gathering steam at 45 metres in length to date.
The Laos-China Friendship Tunnel, crossing the Laos-China border has seen more than 55 metres of progress thus far.
Mr Chanthachone said construction of bridges and roads related to the project are now on pause until rains end.
Construction may not meet the standards if we continue to work due to the rainfall, he said.
In particular, the preparations to drill the foundations for a bridge connecting Luang Namtha and Oudomxay provinces had to be halted.
In Oudomxay province, the project coordinator Mr Phonpadith Phommakit told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that work on around 34 tunnels is still ongoing.
Currently, some nine of 34 tunnels have been bored and are on now track, while some works of roads and bridges are also on pause due to the rainfall.
In Vientiane, project coordinator Mr Souneth Luangsouphom said officials have continued to remove barriers and to develop areas for the construction since the project began in December last year.
At present, Chinese contractors had already developed a 15 km stretch in preparation for construction to date, he said.
A 7km-long bridge from Dongxiengdy to Nakhoun villages in Naxaithong district will be constructed after the seasonal rainfalls conclude, he said.
The planned 417-km railway to connect Vientiane to the Chinese border traverses the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha passing through 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km.
The project has a total investment of 40 billion Chinese yuan (about US$6 billion), 70 percent of which comes from China, with 30 percent from Laos.
The project set to be completed by 2021 is seen to mark a significant milestone in the socio-economic and cooperation strategies of the two countries.
The project is linked to the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative proffered by Chinese President Xi Jinping and is expected to contribute to increased friendly relations and cooperation between the neighbours and Asean as a whole.
The Lao government places great importance on the realisation of the project which is part of a planned regional railway linking southern China to Singapore via Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.
Laos also attached great importance to and is seriously examining opportunities per the One Belt and One Road, which provides clear goals of comprehensive cooperation between countries of the region and contributes to the promotion of a higher level of connectivity in policies, infrastructure, trade and investment, finance, society and culture.

ແຂວງວຽງຈັນ ອະນຸຍາດ ໃຫ້ນັກລົງທຶນຈີນ ປູກໄມ້ໃຫ້ໝາກ ຢູ່ເມືອງຫີນເຫີບ 150 ເຮັກຕາ

ແຫຼ່ງທີ່ມາຂອງຂ່າວ: ຂ່າວສານປະເທດລາວ (KPL) 23/06/2017
ແຂວງ​ວຽງ​ຈັນ, ​ອະນຸຍາດ​ໃຫ້​ນັກ​ລົງທຶນຈີນ ​​ເຂົ້າປູກ​ໄມ້​ໃຫ້​ໝາກ​ ແບບ​ປະສົມ​ປະສານ ​ຢູ່​ເມືອງ​ຫີນ​ເຫີບ​ ເຊິ່ງຈະ​ປູກ​ໝາກ​ມ່ວງ, ລີ້ນຈີ່​ ແລະ​ ລຳ​ໄຍ, ​ໂດຍ​ຈະ​ບໍ່​ປູກ​ກ້ວຍ ​​ເພື່ອຫວັງ​ຜົນ​ກຳ​ໄລ ​​ໃນ​ໄລຍະ​ສັ້ນ​ເດັດຂາດ, ຊຶ່ງພິທີ​ເຊັນ​ສັນຍາ​ອະນຸຍາດ ​ຢ່າງ​ເປັນ​ທາງ​ການ​ ມີ​ຂຶ້ນ​ໃນ​ວັນ​ທີ 22 ມິຖຸນາ​ ນີ້ ​ລະຫວ່າງ​ທ່ານ ສຸ​ກັນ​ ວິ​ໄລ ຫົວໜ້າ​ພະ​ແນ​ກ ​ແຜນການ-ການລົງທຶນ ​ແຂວງວຽງຈັນ ​ແລະ ​ທ່ານ​ ທາວ ​ຊິນ​ຍີ ປະທານ​ບໍລິສັດ ​ຊິນ​ຮວງ​ຕາວ​ຕີງ​ອີ້​ ການ​ຄ້າ​ຈຳກັດ ໂຄງການ​ດັ່ງກ່າວ, ​ມີ​ມູນ​ຄ່າ​ການ​ລົງທຶນ 1 ລ້ານ​ໂດ​ລາສະຫະລັດ.
ໃນ​ສັນຍາ​ລະ​ບຸ​ວ່າ:​ ໂຄງການ​ປູກ​ໄມ້​ໃຫ້​ໝາກ​ ແບບ​ປະສົມ​ປະສານ ປະກອບ​ມີ ການ​ປູກ​ໝາກມ່ວງ, ໝາກ​ລີ້ນຈີ່ ​ແລະ ​ໝາກ​ລຳ​ໄຍ. ​ຊຶ່ງຈະ​ຈັດ​ຕັ້ງ​ປະ​ຕິບັດ​ ຢູ່​ ບ້ານ​ຄອນ​ແກ້ວ​ ​ເມືອງ​ ຫີນ​ເຫີບ​ ແຂ​ວງ​ວຽງ​ຈັນ ໃນ​ເນື້ອ​ທີ່ 150 ເຮັກຕາ, ​ໂດຍ​ມີ​ໄລ​ຍະ ການ​ສຳປະທານ 30 ປີ​ ນັບ​ແຕ່​ມື້​ເຊັນ​ສັນຍາ ​ເປັນ​ຕົ້ນ​ໄປ ຫລັງ​ຈາກ​ນັ້ນ​ ແມ່ນ​ສົ່ງ​ດິນ​ດັ່ງກ່າວ ​ຄືນ​ໃຫ້​ລັດ.
ທ່ານ​ ທາວ ​ຊິນ​ຍີ ປະທານ​ບໍລິສັດ ​ຊິນ​ຮວງ​ຕາວ​ຕີງ​ອີ້​ ການ​ຄ້າ​ຈຳກັດ ກ່າວວ່າ:​ ໂຄງການ​ນີ້ ​ເປັນ​ໂຄງການ ​ປູກ​ໄມ້​ໃຫ້​ໝາກ​ ແບບ​ປະສົມ​ປະສານ​ ໂດຍ​ຈະ​ນຳ​ໃຊ້​ ເຕັກນິກ​ວິ​ທະ​ນາສາ​ດ ​ເຂົ້າ​ໃນ​ການ​ຜະລິດ, ບໍ່​​ໃຊ້​ເຄມີ​ທີ່​ເປັນ​ອັນຕະລາຍ ​ຜູ້​ທຳ​ການ​ຜະລິດ​, ຕໍ່​ປະຊາຊົນບໍ​ລິ​ເວນ​​ໃກ້​ຄຽງ​ ແລະ ​ໂຄງການ​ ຈະ​ບໍ່​ປູກ​ກ້ວຍ​ ທີ່​ໃຊ້​ສານ​ເຄມີ ​ເພື່ອ​ຫວັງຜົນ​ກຳ​ໄລ​ ໃນ​ໄລຍະ​ສັ້ນ​​ເດັດຂາດ.
ສ່ວນ​ການ​ປູກຕົວ​ຈິງ ແມ່ນ​ຈະ​ເລີ່​ມລົງມື ​ໃນ​ຕົ້ນ​ລະດູຝົນ​ປີໜ້າ, ​ໃນ​ຈຳນວນ 150​ ເຮັກ​ຕາ ​ແມ່ນ​ຈະ​ປູກໝາກມ່ວງ​ 50% ຂອງ​ເນື້ອ​ທີ່​ ຄາດ​ວ່າ 5 ປີ​ຈະ​ໄດ້​​ເກັບ​ຜົນ​ຜະລິດ​ຂາຍ, 70%​ ແມ່ນ​ສົ່ງ​ໄປ​ຈີນ ​ແລະ ​30%​ ແມ່ນ​ຂາຍ​ພາຍ​ໃນ, ສ່ວນດ້ານ​ແຮງ​ງານ ​ແມ່ນ​ຈະ​ນຳ​ໃຊ້​ປະຊາຊົນ ​ຢູ່​ບ້ານ​ຄອນ​ແກ້ວ​ ແລະ ​ບ້ານ​ໄດ້​ຄຽງ​, ຊຶ່ງ​ໂຄງການ​ດັ່ງກ່າວ ມີ​ຄວາມ​ຕ້ອງການ​ແຮງ​ງານ ​ຫລາຍ​ກວ່າ ​50 ຄົນ​, ສ່ວນ​ວິຊາ​ກການ​ແມ່ນ​ນຳ​ໃຊ້​ຄົນ​ຈີນ.

Demarcation complete, Luang Prabang eyes investment to push SEZ project ahead

Source: Vientiane Times, June 26, 2017
Development of a US$1.2 billion special economic zone (SEZ) in Luang Prabang province has faced delays attributed to project demarcation now completed while its developer seeks further investment and financial backing.
The plans for the zone include a 23-storey building, schools, hospitals, shopping centre, bank, hotels, restaurants and residences including homes and advanced nursing care for older people.
The SEZ is designed to create a modern conurbation for the provincial capital while ensuring the ongoing preservation of the old town.
The government signed an agreement on the zone with the country’s own Phousy Group in January last year, allowing the company to establish this project in Luang Prabang province.
Areas for organic vegetable production also feature in the plan.
Speaking to Vientiane Times on Friday, Deputy Director of the Luang Prabang provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Mr Bounsom Thatsavong said that construction activity had not been carried out in the zone so far.
“The zone is still vegetated as it has been,” he said.
“Nevertheless, the developer has completed demarcating the project site.”
He said the developer would be looking for further partners to develop the SEZ zone since it requires an enormous amount of capital to carry out.
He did not confirm when construction would begin or particulars of the financial backing and investment sourced to date.
“Our authorities have tried to push for the project’s progress which should contribute to boosting the economic growth in our province,” Mr Bounsom said.
Earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Sonexay Siphandone visited the project site during a visit to the northern provinces.
Mr Sonexay saw firsthand the extent of development so far and the location of the site where a bridge will be built across the Mekong to link the three zones incorporated in the SEZ.
People in the area currently use ferries to cross the Mekong between the town of Luang Prabang and Chomphet district for travel and business.
The zone is about 10km outside Luang Prabang town centre with another site in Chomphet district on the other side of the Mekong River.
With a concession period of 99 years, the initial project proposal comprised an area of 4,850 hectares in the two districts.
A portion was found to overlap with the world heritage site, resulting in a revision in size to about 4500 hectares, Mr Bounsom said.
The government hopes the project will catalyse economic growth in the province and generate further job opportunities for local people.
A one-stop operating service is to be introduced for businesses in the zone to ensure transparency and accountability and to facilitate development.
The site is set to help the province overcome development constraints and preserve the old town of Luang Prabang, home to Laos’ first World Heritage Site and considered a magnet for domestic and international tourists in an increasingly interconnected region.
By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update June 26, 2017)

Oudomxay banana farms unable to renew contracts

Source: Vientiane Times, June 10, 2017
A number of banana farms in Oudomxay province have ceased operations after their contracts expired following numerous complaints from local residents that their operations were negatively affecting the environment.
The farms are operated by 11 concession holders. Seven companies are still continuing their operations but four companies’ contracts have expired and the authorities will not renew them.
A provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department official, Mr Bounyeun Xayyaven told Vientiane Times yesterday the 11 companies had concessions and rented the land of local residents to operate their banana farms, but four of those companies had ended their work after their contracts expired.
The seven companies that are currently still in business will also cease work when their contracts expire, he said, adding that in each case the investors are returning the land to their owners upon the expiration of their contracts.
Of the remaining companies, some still have three year contracts while others have five year contracts but they must comply with government policy on environmental protection as long as they are still in operation, Mr Bounyeun said.
Last year, the Prime Minister’s Office ordered farms that were preparing to cultivate banana trees to cease work. Companies that own thousands of hectares of banana plantations where trees have already been planted will not be allowed to plant any more after harvesting the crop.
Chinese-owned banana farms are not only found in the north of Laos, there are also hundreds of hectares of bananas under cultivation in Vientiane province and the capital.
According to a National Assembly report in October last year, some provinces are using too many insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers, but this issue did not feature in reports submitted to the Assembly.
Some people became ill and some allegedly died after pesticide was sprayed on farms, but the reports did not say where this had occurred.
There are no bananas grown on Chinese-owned farms for sale in local markets as the farms send all their fruit to China. The bananas are packed in cardboard boxes for immediate shipment to China after they are harvested.

“ ໜຶ່ງແລວທາງ ໜຶ່ງເສັ້ນທາງ ” ກາລະໂອກາດ ແລະ ສິ່ງທ້າທາຍ

ແຫຼ່ງທີ່ມາຂອງຂ່າວ: ສຳນັກຂ່າວສານປະເທດລາວ, KPL, May 12 2017

  • ເສັ້ນສີແດງ (ເສັ້ນເທິງ) ແມ່ນແລວທາງ ເສດຖະກິດ ຕາມເສັ້ນທາງ ສາຍໄໝ, ເສັ້ນສີຟ້າ (ເສັ້ນລຸ່ມ) ແມ່ນເສັ້ນທາງ ສາຍໄໝທາງ ທະເລແຫ່ງ ສັດຕະວັດ ທີ 21.
ຄຳວ່າ “ ໜຶ່ງແລວທາງ ໜຶ່ງເສັ້ນທາງ” ຫລື ພາສາອັງກິດເວົ້າວ່າ “ One Belt One Road ” ໄດ້ແປມາຈາກ ພາສາຈີນ “一代一路” ເຊິ່ງອ່ານອອກສຽງ ເປັນພາສາລາວວ່າ  “ອີຕ້າຍ ອີລູ້ ”. “ ໜຶ່ງແລວທາງ ໜຶ່ງເສັ້ນທາງ ” ແມ່ນຫຍໍ້ມາຈາກ ສອງປະໂຫຍກ ແນວຄວາມຄິດ ຍຸດທະສາດ ຂໍ້ລິເລີ່ມອັນສຳຄັນ ໃນການກໍ່ສ້າງ “ ແລວທາງເສດຖະກິດ ເສັ້ນທາງສາຍໄໝ ແລະ ເສັ້ນທາງສາຍໄໝ ທາງທະເລ ແຫ່ງສັດຕະວັດ ທີ 21” ທີ່ ທ່ານ ສີ ຈິນຜິງ ປະທານປະເທດ ແຫ່ງ ສປ ຈີນ ໄດ້ສະເໜີ ໃນໄລຍະການ ເດີນທາງຢ້ຽມຢາມ ບັນດາປະເທດ ຢູ່ອາຊີ ກາງ ແລະ ອາ ຊີຕາເວັນອອກສ່ຽງໃຕ້ ໃນເດືອນກັນຍາ ແລະ ເດືອນຕຸລາ ປີ 2013  ເຊິ່ງໄດ້ເປັນເຂັມທິດ ຕໍ່ການປະຕິຮູບ ຮອບໃໝ່, ມີຄວາມໝາຍ ອັນສຳຄັນຕໍ່ ປະເທດອ້ອມຂ້າງ ກໍຄືຕໍ່ທົ່ວໂລກ ແລະ ກໍ່ໄດ້ຮັບການ ສະໜັບສະໜູນ ຈາກລັດຖະ ບານລາວ ຢ່າງເຕັມທີ່.

ການກໍ່ສ້າງ “ໜຶ່ງແລວທາງ ໜຶ່ງເສັ້ນທາງ” ແມ່ນຢືດໝັ້ນ ຕາມຫລັກການ “ຮ່ວມກັນປຶກສາ, ຮ່ວມກັນສ້າງ, ຮ່ວມກັນຊົມໃຊ້”, ຕັ້ງໜ້າຊຸກຍູ້ ຍຸດທະສາດ ການພັດທະນາ ຂອງບັນດາປະເທດ ທີ່ຢູ່ຕາມແລວທາງ ໃຫ້ເຊື່ອມໂຍງເຂົ້າກັນ. ຈິດໃຈຂໍ້ລິເລີ່ມ “ ໜຶ່ງ ແລວທາງໜຶ່ງ ເສັ້ນທາງ ” ຂອງປະທານ ສີຈິນຜິງ ແມ່ນເພື່ອສືບຕໍ່ ສ້າງກາລະໂອກາດອັນໃໝ່ໃຫ້ແກ່ ການລົງເລິກຮ່ວມມື ກັບຕ່າງປະເທດ ແລະ ຂະຫຍາຍພື້ນທີ່ ອັນໃໝ່ໃນການ ຮ່ວມມືກັບ ພາກພື້ນ, ໂດຍເລັ່ງໃສ່ ເຊື່ອມໂຍງ 5 ຂົງເຂດໃຫຍ່ ຄື: ສົ່ງເສີມການ ເຊື່ອມໂຍງທາງ ດ້ານນະ ໂຍບາຍ, ການເຊື່ອມໂຍງ ທາງດ້ານພື້ນຖານໂຄງລ່າງ, ສ້າງຄວາມສະດວກ ສະບາຍທາງດ້ານການຄ້າ, ​ການເຊື່ອມໂຍງ ທາງດ້ານທຶນຮອນ, ການເຊື່ອມໂຍງ ຄວາມສຳພັນ ລະຫວ່າງປະຊາຊົນ.


ແຫຼ່ງທີ່ມາຂອງຂ່າວ: ໜັງສືພິມເສດຖະກິດ-ການຄ້າ,  7/5/2017ລັດຖະບານຍົກທີ່ດິນເປັນບ/

ບັນຫາທີ່ດິນຍັງເປັນບັນຫາເຄັ່ງຮ້ອນມາຢ່າງຕໍ່ເນື່ອງ ເຊິ່ງກອງປະຊຸມສະໄໝສາມັນຂອງສະພາແຫ່ງຊາດໃນຊຸດຜ່ານໆມາ ກໍ່ໄດ້ຍົກບັນຫາດັ່ງກ່າວ ຖາມເຈາະຈີ້ມຂະແຫນງທີ່ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງຢ່າງຕໍ່ເນື່ອງ. ລ້າສຸດໃນກອງປະຊຸມຄັ້ງນີ້ ສະມາຊິກສະພາແຫ່ງຊາດ ກໍ່ໄດ້ຕັ້ງຄໍາຊັກຖາມວ່າ: ບັນຫາການໃຫ້ຊຳປະທານທີ່ດິນ ໃຫ້ກັບບໍລິສັດເອກະຊົນ ທັງພາຍໃນ ແລະ ແຕ່ງປະເທດ ແຕ່ບໍລິສັດບໍ່ປະຕິບັດຕາມສັນຍາ (ຈັດຈອງທີ່ດິນແຕ່ບໍ່ພັດທະນາ?) ບັນຫາບໍລິສັດຂະຫຍາຍເນື້ອທີ່ເກີນກຳນົດທີ່ ພາກລັດອະນຸມັດ ເຮັດໃຫ້ປະຊາຊົນໄດ້ຮັບຜົນກະທົບ ແລະ ບັນຫາທີ່ລັດຖະບານອະນຸມັດທີ່ດິນສພຳປະທານໃຫ້ບໍລິສັດຢູ່ໃນເຂດທ້ອງຖິ່ນ ແຕ່ບໍລິສັດເຮັດຕາມໃຈ ບໍ່ຮັບຟັງອຳນາດ ການປົກຄອງທ້ອງຖິ່ນ ເນື່ອງຈາກເປັນໂຄງການທີ່ໄດ້ຮັບອະນຸມັດຈາກລັດຖະບານ, ທາງລັດຖະບານຈະມີວິທີແກ້ໄຂ ແລະ ມາດຕະການຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດຄືແນວໃດ?.

ຕໍ່ກັບບັນຫາດັ່ງກ່າວ ທ່ານ ທອງລຸນ ສີສຸລິດ ນາຍົກລັດຖະມົນຕີ ໄດ້ຊີ້ແຈງຕໍ່ບັນດາ ສສຊ ວ່າ: ບັນຫານການສຳປະທານທີ່ດິນໃຫ້ແກ່ບໍລິສັດລົງທຶນພາຍໃນ ແລະ ຕ່າງປະເທດທີ່ລັດຖະບານ ຫຼື ແຂວງໄດ້ອະນຸມັດ ປັດຈຸບັນມີຫຼາຍບໍລິສັດໄດ້ຮັບອະນຸຍາດ ສຳປະທານແຕ່ບໍ່ປະຕິບັດຕາມລະບຽບກົດໝາຍ, ລະບຽບການທີ່ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງ, ສັນຍາສຳປະທານ ແລະ ອື່ນໆ; ການບຸກເບີກເນື້ອທີ່ ບໍ່ໄດ້ຮັບອະນຸມັດກໍ່ມີ, ລ່ວງລໍ້າກໍ່ມີ, ກວມເອົາດິນຂອງປະຊາຊົນ, ການພັດທະນາບໍ່ໄປຕາມກຳນົດເວລາ ແລະ ເງືື່ອນໄຂຂອງສັນຍາສຳປະທານ ແລະ ອື່ນໆ.

ທ່ານກ່າວຕື່ມວ່າ: ບັນຫາດັ່ງກ່າວນີ້ແມ່ນມີມາແຕ່ດົນ, ລັດຖະບານຊຸດຜ່ານໆມາກໍ່ໄດ້ພະຍາຍາມແກ້ໄຂ ແຕ່ວ່າຍັງຫຼາຍອັນທີ່ຈະຕ້ອງໄດ້ສືບຕໍ່ແກ້ໄຂ. ລັດຖະບານໄດ້ນຳເອົາບັນຫາທີ່ດິນຂື້ນມາເພື່ອສຶກສາຄົ້ນຄວ້າວ່າ: ການປະຕິບັດກົດໝາຍທີ່ດິນຂອງພວກເຮົາມີ ຈຸດດີ, ຈຸດອ່ອນ ແລະ ຂໍ້ບົກຜ່ອງແນວໃດ? ເຊິ່ງມີຫຼາຍຂໍ້ຈຸດອ່ອນ ແລະ ຂໍ້ບົກຜ່ອງ, ບັນຫາທີ່ຟົດຮ້ອນກໍ່ຄື: ແຂວງມີສິດອະນຸຍາດເທົ່ານັ້ນ ແຕ່ປະຕິບັດຈິງແມ່ນກາຍກັບໂຕທີ່ກຳນົດ, ຕະຫຼອດຮອດເມືອງ ແລະ ບ້ານກໍ່ມີສິດເຊັນໃຫ້ສຳປະທານທີ່ດິນເປັນຕົ້ນ.

ສ່ວນນັດທຸລະກິດສຳປະທານທີ່ດິນ ແຕ່ບໍ່ພັດທະນາຕາມສັນຍາໃຫ້ທ້ອງຖິ່ນລາຍງານຕໍ່ ລັດຖະບານໃຫ້ລົງໄປແກ້ໄຂ ແຕ່ບັນຫາເກີດຂື້ນຜ່ານມານັກລົງທຶນທີ່ໄດ້ສຳປະທານເຂົາເຈົ້າບໍ່ເຄົາລົບການຈັດຕັ້ງທ້ອງຖິ່ນ ເນື່ອງຈາກລັດຖະບານເປັນຜູ້ອະນຸມັດ.

15 mining projects see concessions revoked

Source: Vientiane Times,5May,2017

Fifteen mining operations have had their concessions revoked after investors failed to implement their projects as agreed after they were granted concessions by the government.
Speaking at the ongoing ordinary session of the National Assembly last week, Minister of Energy and Mines DrKhammanyInthirath said “Some companies just held [concessions without implementing them] purely in order to resell them.”
The government suspended consideration of new mining projects a few years ago, saying it wanted to take steps to better regulate the mining industry after learning that a number of projects had failed to observe the agreements they had signed with the government.
DrKhammany said his officials began carrying out inspections in 2016 and found that almost 20 mining operations were not in compliance with the agreements and stood to lose their concessions.
The findings were submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, which subsequently annulled the concessions previously awarded to 15 projects.
The fate of other projects that comply poorly with agreements is currently under consideration, DrKhammany added.
As of 2016, some 657 companies had been granted permission to carry out surveys and excavation as part of 942 projects. Of these, 226 companies had been authorised by the central government to undertake 392 projects.
Since 2003, when investment in mining began, until 2016, the sale value of mineral commodities exceeded US$13 billion with almost US$2 billion in taxes and royalties paid to the government, DrKhammany said.
He added that the mining sector had boomed and generated huge revenues from 2011-2016 driven by the spiralling of commodity prices on the world market, especially gold and copper, in 2012. The sale value of mining products from 2011-2016 hit US$8.8 billion with US$1.2 billion in taxes paid. Prior to that, from 2003-2010, the sale value of mining products was just US$4.3 billion with US$688 million paid in taxes.
DrKhammany said the sale value of minerals took a dive in 2016 when commodity prices on the world market slumped, including gold and copper.
In the first nine months of 2016, the sale value was just US$964 million, generating only US$41 million in taxes.
“The sale value [of mineral products] for the whole of 2016 was less than US$100 million. The sale value depends on the market price of minerals,” DrKhammany said.

Vietnamese investment in Khammuan booming

Source: Vientiane Times
Date: May 3, 2017
By Time Reporter
Over 20 new investment projects worth millions of US dollars have been proposed to Khammuan provincial authorities by Vietnamese entrepreneurs, pending official approval.
A senior official from the Khammuan provincial Department of Planning and Investment, MrXaysanaKhotphouthone, told Vientiane Times yesterday that Vietnamese investment is booming in Khammuan, notably in the mining sector.
“The 20 new proposals submitted by Vietnamese investors are mega projects worth millions of dollars and we are considering various aspects of their proposals, particularly funding,” MrXaysana said.
“There are two main reasons why Vietnamese are coming to invest here. One is that Khammuan has abundant mineral resources including potassium, lead and gold. The second is that Laos and Vietnam are neighbours, which makes the import-export process easier.” 
Vietnam is currently ranked the second largest foreign investor in Khammuan after China. So far, 19 investment projects worth over US$500 million have been carried out by the Vietnamese. 
Most of their investments are in the mining sector, particularly the excavation of potassium, lead and other minerals.
However, timber for export is one sector that has become unpopular since the province enforced the Prime Minister’s Order No. 15 issued on May 13. The order bans the export of all types of unfinished wood products including timber and logs, and is considered a significant move in the battle to clamp down on the illicit timber trade.
While the mining sector is increasingly popular among foreign investors in the province, agriculture has not grown as anticipated with only a few investors building factories to process crops for export.
Critics say it’s vital to create more favourable conditions and incentives to increase investment and exports in the agriculture sector as this would drive economic growth in the long run since minerals will one day be exhausted. 
In the recent past, investment from Vietnam decreased slightly as many entrepreneurs encountered financial difficulties, affecting the sector.
During the first visit made by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc last week in response to an invitation from his Lao counterpart MrThonglounSisoulith, the two premiers witnessed the signing of nine agreements.
One of those agreements was the signing of the VungAng seaport development joint venture in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province.
Deputy Head of the Khammuan provincial Administrative Office, MrVannavongVongphachanh, said minerals from Khammuan were mainly exported through the VungAng port to Vietnam and China.
This is the shortest route to a seaport from Laos. Since the opening of the third Friendship Bridge in November 2011, linking Thakhaek district in Khammuan province to Thailand’s NakhonPhanom province across the Mekong, more goods have been transported along this route.

Gov’t to get tough with dishonest land concession holders

Source: Vientiane Times, April 28, 2017
The government will use tougher measures to regulate concession projects by withdrawing land if no progress is made on the proposed project, while also pushing for authorities at various levels to participate in the process.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on behalf of the government made the promise yesterday in response to National Assembly (NA) members’ queries concerning issues surrounding land concessions, which were raised at the ongoing debate session.
The government acknowledged that many concession projects have been awarded, but investors often did not fulfill their obligations with regard to the contract and relevant laws. Many acquired land for the purpose of handing it over to other investors, thereby making a profit.
“If an investor who has been given a concession is found not to proceed with the stated project in the time frame agreed, I ask local authorities to actively investigate and report their findings to the government,” Prime Minister Thongloun said.
He urged the relevant ministries to urgently take action when they received a report indicating possible misconduct.
The issue of investors refusing to obey the requests of local authorities was also raised by Assembly members. In response, Mr Thongloun said concession deals and other development project agreements made at the central or local level must be signed off by local authorities.
Also up for discussion was encroachment onto state land by investors in addition to the land area stated in the concession contract.
“In this case, local authorities have the right to use measures directly to prevent encroachment at the first stage before it continues any further. The authorities should not wait for orders from the government,” Mr Thongloun said. “If local authorities are unable to influence the situation, please inform the related sector or ministry so they can deal with the matter,” he added.
Taking possession of land without putting it to good use not only delays the country’s development but denies other developers the opportunity to use land productively.
“If land is handed over and no development takes place, it will be withdrawn. I want the business sector to understand this,” the prime minister said.
“Effective investment and the implementation of development projects that follow the law will help to strengthen the economy,” he added, noting that the government would not allow a monopoly in investment, but supported competition.
Mr Thongloun told Assembly members that the government had carried out a study on the positives and negatives of the Law on Land, saying a lot of shortcomings were uncovered.
The government is improving its policies before submitting them to the Politburo, which is expected to propose a resolution by the Party Central Committee in order to tackle the issues surrounding land use, according to Mr Thongloun.

Lao companies to benefit from railway project: Officials

Source: Vientiane Times,April 21, 2017
Officials in charge have confirmed that Lao construction companies will benefit from the almost-US$6 billion railway project linking Vientiane to the Chinese border.

Director of the Laos-China Railway construction project and Director of the Lao National Railway Company, Dr Koung Souk-Aloun, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that a list of 59 companies has been submitted to the Chinese side for selection.

�We have sent them [the Chinese side] 59 companies, not 20 companies. The selection process is underway and hopefully Lao companies will be hired to undertake some of the work on the railroad project,� he said.

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