Vientiane Times, March 22,2018
Their investigations revealed that about 20 projects owned by Lao and foreign investors had failed to demonstrate any progress in their operations while others were violating the law in various ways.
Two of the 20 projects had their concessions revoked by the provincial authorities for not complying with agreements.
Provincial Governor Mr Oday Soudaphone took the decision to revoke the concession licences of the two firms, which had invested in limestone excavation and sand and gravel mining.
The first company (whose name translates as Veunxeu-Vongsaphay limestone excavation) was found to have violated the Investment Promotion Law and a concession agreement signed with authorities on June 21, 2016, to excavate and process limestone in Hinboun district.
Authorities were unable to contact the company president but informed other company representatives that the firm would not be allowed to continue with the project.
The second firm (whose name translates as Phonchaleun sand and gravel mining) was found to have contravened a concession agreement signed with authorities on February 21, 2012, to operate a sand and gravel business in Hatnakom village, Hinboun district.
But no progress had been made since the company was granted a concession licence.
Deputy Director of the Khammuan provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Mr Si-nguan Inthalath, told Vientiane Times on Monday these two companies had not shown any willingness to carry out their proposed projects.
“They not only failed to comply with the concession agreements signed with our authorities, but also failed to pay any tax,” he said.
Mr Si-nguan concluded that the companies could have run into funding problems or had been unable to find markets for their products.
Many companies seem not to be genuinely interested in carrying out a project as permitted by authorities while others just want to maintain ownership of a project with the intention of selling it to another investor at a later date.
“We identified about 20 companies that did not demonstrate sufficient progress in their project operations. We will invite them for talks and discuss ways to solve the problem,” Mr Si-nguan said.
“We will warn them that what they are doing is unacceptable and encourage them to comply with our laws. If no progress is made after the warning, we will have to revoke their concession licences.”
Khammuan has abundant mineral resources including potassium, lead and gold, so private investment in mining continues to increase.
Deputy Head of the Khammuan provincial Administrative Office, Mr Vannavong Vongphachanh, said mining commodities were mainly exported through Vung Ang Port to Vietnam and China.
This is Laos’ shortest route to a seaport. Since the opening of the Third Friendship Bridge in 2011, linking Thakhaek district in Khammuan province to Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom province across the Mekong River, more freight has been transported using this route.