Research shows quality mining central to Laos’ LDC graduation
A research paper, discussed by government officials and industry experts in Vientiane on 5 April, has underlined the ongoing importance of good practice mining if Laos is to realise its ambition of graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status.
The research paper, commissioned by the Australian Embassy, highlighted of the value of quality mining for Laos’ economic growth - representing over 60 per cent of total Lao export value in 2013/14. But the research noted mining revenues are expected to decline unless new investments are prioritised over the next National Socio-Economic Development Plan period to 2020.
The paper also highlighted how good practice mining activities had contributed to economic growth and poverty reduction in the Lao PDR and internationally. For example, Vilabouly Dis-trict in Savannaket, where MMG’s mine is located, has graduated from poorest district status, with incomes in the district increasing tenfold since mining operations started.
In 2014, as much as 3.4 per cent of Lao GDP was attributable directly to Phu Bia Mining’s opera-tions in Xaisomboun. Communities surrounding PBM’s operations in the province, similar to the people in Vilabouly, had benefited markedly from the quality mining operations, in terms of higher incomes from jobs and supplying food and other products for the mines.
Both MMG and PBM also have award-winning community development programs to strengthen health and education services and livelihoods in their local communities.
The research paper also provided a set of recommendations for strengthening the sector, including a focus on mining governance and transparency, improving geological information and revising licencing arrangements to encourage quality mining investors.
Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR, John Williams, said that with targeted reforms to mining governance, Laos would be able to attract the sort of quality mining investments that would help it achieve NSEDP economic growth targets.
”The problem with the Lao mining sector is the vast gap in quality between world-leading opera-tions like Phu Bia and MMG LXML Sepon and most others,” Ambassador Williams said. “But with greater transparency and the right mix of reforms, the Lao Government will be well posi-tioned to attract new high quality investors, and ensure mining continues to help drive economic growth and development in Laos.”
Media Enquiries: Melanie Fuller, Executive Director, Austcham Lao PDR at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +856 20 2222 5302