Shut down of Moehti Moemi gold mine helps no one: company

The government’s suspension of the Moehti Moemi gold mining concession had affected the lives of 5000 company workers, and had cost the government between 26.6 kilograms and 53.2kg of gold in lost monthly revenue, U Soe Tun Shein, chairman of National Prosperity Co Ltd, which operated the concession, said at a press conference last Friday.

“It is not true that we owed 1200 viss (1920kg) of gold, as No. 2 Mining Enterprise says. We signed with the government for 101 viss, and we were paying the government 10 to 20 viss monthly to pay it off. But the government suspended the project, so it has been more than four months since it has received a gold payment. Also, about 5000 people lost their jobs in a part of the country where there is little work. It hasn’t benefitted anyone,” he said.

According to a November 2017 agreement, the company pledged to pay 161.6kg of gold by the end of March 2018. That included more than 64kg up to December 2016 and over 96kg from January to June 2017, U Soe Tun Shein said.

In February, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation cancelled the permit of the gold mining concession, which had been approved by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). Since the No. 2 Mining Enterprise had suspended the agreement, the country has lost income and people had lost jobs, he said.

The MIC instructed the company and No. 2 Mining Enterprise to resolve the issue.

“They will submit the matter to the Economic Committee chaired by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for a decision,” he said

The bank loan, including interest, for the project was K40 billion, and the company has been unable to make payments once every three months as required because the operation had been stopped, U Soe Tun Shein said. Nearly K80 billion has been invested in Moehti Moemi.

The commercial tax and profit tax for 2012 and 2013 have been paid, but the company received a bill for K6 billion in tax for the next four years starting on the day the ministry suspended the project, he said, adding that the company cannot pay that amount as the money was invested in the project.

When the company made inquiries on July 5, No. 2 Mining Enterprise Managing Director U Than Daing told them that if they paid all 161.6kg of gold they owe, he would submit the case to a higher authority to resume the project, U Soe Tun Shein said.

If they are allowed to resume mining, the company will continue to arrange to pay the gold it owes the government, he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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