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.
Posts Tagged ‘National Assembly’
Source: Vientiane Times,5May,2017
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.
Vientiane Times, August 25, 2016
Vientiane Times, 25 April 2015.
A senior official at the National Assembly (NA) has asserted that the content of the draft National Land Policy has no problems, despite the fact it has been put on hold and has not been yet approved by the NA. The drafted policy, which stipulates reasonable compensation based on market prices whenever people’s lands are affected by investment projects, was submitted to the NA’s fifth ordinary session in July 2013 for debate. But it was not approved by the then session.
Vientiane Times, April 21, 2015
Policymakers are sounding out opinions from various sectors in society and those good and reasonable opinions will be taken into account into the draft of the amended constitution. The national committee in charge of amending the constitution has made a public announcement welcoming public opinions and comment on the proposed amendments.
Vientiane Times, 17 Jan 2015
Accurate information and evidence are essential for bringing to justice illegal loggers and wood traders, and forestry authorities are calling on the public to help in this matter. Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Department of Forest Inspection, Mr Paphakone Vongxay, recently called for public support when responding to questions on illegal logging put to the National Assembly through telephone hotline calls.
“It would be better if local residents refrain from building property anywhere close to the proposed railway as this will create extra complications with regard to the compensation process,” Laos-China Railway Project Manager Dr Koung Souk-aloun said.
Vientiane Times, 29 August 2014
Villagers whose land was used to build a casino and airport in the northwestern province of Bokeo have been awarded full compensation in accordance with the government’s policy, senior government officials have confirmed. Deputy Director General of the Land Administration Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Anothai Chanthalasy made the comment at a press conference held recently at the National Assembly after the issue was raised through the telephone hotline set up during the Assembly’s ordinary session.
Vientiane Times, 23 August 2014
The National Assembly (NA) has highlighted that many foreign investment projects working in the natural resource sector are not operating in accordance with the law and NA officials need to educate themselves on the issues to better address problems with projects. Vice Chairperson of the NA Economic, Planning and Finance Committee Dr Bouakham Thippavong was addressing a training workshop on the “Process of National Planning, Public and Private Investment Approvals and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments” in Vientiane last week.