Lao Economy

Global Commodity Price Drops Knock Resources Revenue Off Target: Laos

Total income generated from the mining sector for 2013-2014 fiscal year has fallen short of the goal set.

Revenue for the 12 months which concluded in September reached 12,465 billion kip, falling short of the target of 15,318 billion kip.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Khammany Inthilath said the drop in commodity values in world markets, notably the price of gold, had been the main cause behind the resources sector being unable to reach the target.

Despite failing to meet the target, the deputy minister described the contribution of the sector as considerable.

In 2013, the mining sector generated revenue for the government of more than 1,738 billion kip (US$216 million).

For the 2014-2015 fiscal year that began in October, the sector has set a target to generate total income of more than 15,595 billion kip, an increase of 25.11 percent on the 2013-2014 financial year.

As of July 2014, some 68 companies have invested in 106 mine excavation and processing-related activities.

This includes 25 activities being operated by 13 domestic firms.

Of the total, 45 companies are in excavation, while 23 companies are involved in processing.

A total concession area of 274,663 hectares has been granted for mining projects.

In total, 502 mine projects have been approved, worth many hundreds of millions of dollars in total.

Despite the fact that mining sector has contributed significantly to driving economic growth and boosting state revenue, issues and challenges remain.

Some investors have failed to implement projects after getting approval, while some investors also failed to pay related fees and taxes in a timely fashion.

Since 2012, the government has suspended consideration and approval of new mine projects after observing such problems and instructed authorities in charge to launch inspections and assessments.

Some ten mine projects are likely to have their concessions revoked following the assessment which is still under way, according to a report presented to the government annual meeting held recently in Vientiane.

The assessment is set to complete by 2015 after which the government will review its policy concerning the mining sector.

The policy review is aimed at maximising revenue collection from the sector prior to considering approval of new mine projects after 2015, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong said.

Source: Vientiane Times