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Rich resources remain available to Laos mining sector

Activities at a nickel mining site. (Kontan/Cheppy A. Muchlis). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

VIENTIANE, Nov 25, 2020, The Laotian Times. Mineral and mining projects in Laos cover a land area of over seven million hectares throughout the country or over 30 percent of the total land area. According to a report by Lao National Radio, the government of Laos has authorized 214 companies to undertake mining operations in the country, The Laotian Times reporyted.

Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr. Khammany Inthirath, says over 214 companies have invested in geoscience and mining, with over 300 activities, and 80 operators engaged in mining operations.

There are currently 21 companies undertaking search operations, with 70 companies undertaking survey and exploration activities, and 43 firms conducting feasibility studies, according to Mr.Khammany.

“The Lao government has allowed foreign and domestic investors to commence mining operations since 1990, with mineral resource deposits found at over 570 locations across the country,” he added.

The energy and mining sector has contributed over USD 2 billion in taxes over the last five years, with USD 1.2 billion from the energy sector, and USD 838 million from the mining sector.

Despite rich resources, however, the Lao mining sector has seen a decrease of 18 percent from 2016 to 2020, according to figures provided by officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

The sharp decline occurred after legislators ordered the suspension of new mining operations in 2016, leading to a drop in mineral distribution and exports.

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