Government settles gold debts by private miners

The outstanding gold debt owed by private gold mining firms to the government as at September 30, 2017 is 14,121.32 ticals, U Ohn Win, Union Minister for National Resources and Environmental Conservation reported at the Pyithu Hluttaw held on October 19.

In Myanmar, 1 tical is equivalent to 16.34 grams.

Those debts are to be received from the gold mining firms as they have been working with the government under production sharing contracts. The share ratios of those contracts are not known.

According to the explanation by the Minster, there are over 100 firms which owe gold debts to the government. Among them, those operating in unsafe areas will be deleted from debt-outstanding list and they will not be prosecuted.

“It is under arrangement to write off debts of 2,105.59 ticals of gold from 46 firms which have been operating in unsafe areas.” he said. The names of those firms were not submitted to the Hluttaw.

Among the firms to which a lawyer’s notice had been sent for up to three times, Kyaw Hlwan Moe Co. Oo Dan Thit Co., Khaing Shwe Nyein Aye Co., Htarnay Aung Co. and San Lin Co. will be removed from the debt-outstanding company list in accordance with the investigation report, said the Minister.

However, the ministry is closely watching another three firms which have undertaken to pay all due debts. If they breach this proimse, they will be prosecuted, he added. The ministry is also preparing to prosecute some firms but the names of those firms were not disclosed.

The ministry has revised its contracts with three big gold-mining companies, which permits them to defer their gold debt payments from December 2016 to 2018. “If they cannot pay by 2018, action will be taken according to Myanmar Mines Law, Rules and Procedures,” he said.

Those three companies and their outstanding gold debts are National Prosperity Company with 51.76 viss of gold, Shwe Moeyan Company with 45.96 viss of gold and Asia Kabar Myar Co. with 6.52 viss of gold.

1 viss is equivalent to 1.6 kilograms.

Myanmar has vast gold resources in areas like Kachin State and Mandalay Region. However, harsh working conditions, low wages, community and environmental damage have tarnished the industry.

To prevent the illegal trade of gold, the government will submit a proposal to the Union parliament to permit the import and export of gold.

So far, the government has managed to impose a 1 per cent commercial tax on gold jewellery in Yangon and Mandalay. However, a 5pc commercial tax on purified gold has been harder to implement.

Source: Myanmar Times

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