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Mining Sector

"It has been estimated that 90 per cent of the world's rubies comes from Myanmar."

Myanmar is a country rich in mineral and precious stone natural resources. It is a global-scale producer of precious stones such as rubies, sapphires and jade. It has been estimated that 90 per cent of the world's rubies comes from Myanmar.

The auctions of produce – often run two or three times per year – attract thousands of international buyers and net billions of dollars. Although the state aims to manage all aspects of the production and sale of jade and gems, as well as the gold sector, large informal and illegal industries exist.

  • Key products: gas, jade, ruby, sapphire, peridot, spinel, copper, gold, nickel.
  • Minor products: iron and steel, molybdenum, antimony, platinum, lead, tin, limestone (processed to cement), gypsum, stone, coal, topaz, kyanite, various rare earth elements and five minerals considered "scarce" in an EU study.

While mineral deposits exist and overall mineral potential is assessed as high, political, institutional, regulatory and investment frameworks, plus the sanctions regime, have worked against serious exploration by mainstream companies, and even more against mining investment.

The reputation of parts of the industry is very mixed. While many dream of fantastic wealth from gold, jade and rubies, other are of the opinion that until the many legal, social licence and regulatory issues are resolved, minerals should remain in the ground. This way they would be preserved until reform processes have created a more favourable environment for extraction. Apart from the gems industry, extractive minerals production is very small.

Geological prospectivity is assessed as moderate to high, suggesting that, with a viable exploration regime, there is a high probability of discovering deposits with commercial potential. The extent of geological mapping was reported to be 57% in 1997, and approximately 70% by 2012.

Mining Law reform is currently underway and anticipated passage is in 2014.

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