Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ministry warns gold mining companies to payoutstanding debt

There are outstanding 150 viss of gold debts to be paid by over 100 gold mining companies to the government, U Phone Myint, deputy director from No. 2 Mining Enterprise under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, told The Myanmar Times.

A total of 144 viss and 82 ticals (or kyattha) of gold debts to be paid by over 100 companies to the government, which are working on a production sharing basis with the ministry, he said.

Most of those firms are mining in Thabeikkyin, Singu and Yamethin in Sagaing and Mandalay regions and a few firms in Shan State and Kachin State.

The current gold price is K9 lakh per tical and thus a viss of gold will be K90 million. Because of the outstanding gold debts, the government is losing millions of kyats.

At present, five firms have been facing the trial and six more gold firms are going to be prosecuted, it is learnt.

The ministry has formed an investigation tribunal and it will examine the cases. If it is found with concrete evidence that the firm cannot operate in that area, the outstanding gold debts will be written off but if it is found that they are liable to pay, the firm will be prosecuted.

“The firms with gold debts complained that they weren’t able to operate during that period. Let’s say the firm cannot work for 50pc of 1 viss of gold.

“For example, if there was an armed conflict in Kachin State or Kayin State, they could not enter the region for mining. If they can prove with sound evidence, gold debts will be written off according to the procedures,” U Phone Myint said. In doing so, the ministry will seek the approval from the government.

“It is one part. On the other hand, some firms are totally responsible. They have never contacted us. They are definitely liable to pay.

“In that case, they are put in the list of firms to be prosecuted. We will prosecute them step by step. We have already released a letter. At present, the companies have the chance to pay the debts and avoid being prosecuted by the government,” he continued.

During the period between the date of letter issuance and actual prosecution, if a firm settles gold debts, it will not be prosecuted, U Phone Myint said.