Apr 21, 2014

Large-scale copper mining at Sabeitaung (Kyaysintaung) project to generate over US$ 100 million for Myanmar government

The mountainous landscape is fast disappearing as the mining project has been extracting about 70 tons of copper a day at Sabei and Kyaysin mountains, raising concern on environmental woes.

Although the project is being billed with least environmental impacts, Letpadaungtaung Investigation Commission’s report has voiced concern for harmful effects on the environment.

Copper mining, jointly operated by Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings and Myanmar Yang Tse Copper, has the monthly capacity to move some eight million tons of dirt, out of which would yield about 1.5 million tons of copper ores.

The ores would be smelted for the daily production of 70-ton copper. The mining revenue is estimated around US$460,000 per day at the current market price.

“From Sabei and Kyaysin mountains, the mine would extract eight million tons of soil containing 1.5 million tons of ores. Out of this, 70 tons of pure copper is produced daily, amounting to 2,100 tons for a month,” said TheinHtun, official in-charge for Sabei and Kyaysin mountains copper mining site.

A project official OhnLwinMyint said that the oxidized solution, by-product created by liquidizing the copper ores with mild acid in order to extract copper, will not be thrown away. Based on the mining regulations, the solution containing liquid copper is not allowed to be dumped.

“The polluted solution contains copper, so it is precious. It cannot be brought outside. Once it is done so, ISO certificate together with our copper is depreciated. Depending on ISO certificate, we will gain more profitable price determined by London Metric Exchange. Mainly, it depends on how we can minimize impacts to the environment,” said OhnLwinMyint.

As the price of copper on April 18 is around US$ 6,647 per ton quoted in London Metric Exchange, the two mining operators are earning more than US$ 465000 per day.

The operators are managing the mining project under contract based on production sharing agreement.

The permit for large-scale mineral mining, required for the project, was granted on January 7, 2011 while the foreign investment approval was made on March 18, 2011 with the duration of 25 years to mine 6,253.04 acres located on two mountains.

Sabei Mountain is presently a big hole in the aftermath of copper mining. Operators plan to level the landscape before transforming the site into a man-made lake.

Source: Eleven Weekly Media