Myanmar Industry Overview

Metals & Mining


Myanmar’s first Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) reported that, in 2015, natural resource revenues accounted for approximately USD 3.14 billion per annum. Minerals mining represented 2% of this value and gemstone extraction contributed 13%. Oil and gas revenues represented the rest. The proven reserves indicate the span of industrial minerals and stones, heavy metals, jade and gemstones and energy sources such as coal and uranium in Myanmar. These researches might not include about the reserves in the regions over which the government does not hold full control. Gold, not exported now, and iron, steel, limestone and industrial minerals and barites are produced mainly for domestic consumption. The mining sector represents only 21% of total government revenues generated by the extractive industries; within this share, jade and gems producers account for 97% of the mining revenue. For surveying, in-country exploration services are very limited, with government testing labs. For extraction, many inputs to the extraction process are imported from China.

Opportunities and Barriers

Myanmar’s overall geology and mineral reserves remain largely unknown. The mining industry is also under-developed regarding technology, labor, legal framework and capital raising. Moreover, Land disputes, environmental degradation, repression of protests, illegal trade and armed conflicts are what make this industry a risky one for foreign investors.

Legal & Regulatory Framework

Myanmar has become a candidate country to the EITI and is undertaking significant legal reform. In 2015, the Myanmar Mines Law was amended and the first Myanmar Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure was adopted. The 2015 amended Myanmar Mines Law is the main piece of legislation governing the mining and minerals sector in the country. For License Application, the process for obtaining a subsistence mine permit is complicated. Myanmar's mining sector is overseen and regulated by two departments within MONREC and four mining SOEs, each with a specific mineral focus. In February 2016, a Mineral, Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Committee was formed.

Allowed Types of Investments

Investment businesses that the state has a right to carry out are prospecting, exploration and production of radioactive minerals, uranium, thorium etc.
Investment businesses foreign investors are not allowed to carry on are exploration, prospecting, feasibility study and production of minerals on small and medium scales in accordance with the Mines Law, exploration, prospecting and production of Jade/gem.
Investment businesses permitted with recommendation of Ministry of Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation are;

  1. Exploration, prospecting, feasibility study and production of mineral on large scale by foreign investment
  2. Exploration, prospecting, feasibility study and production of mineral on large scale by citizen investment
  3. Making polished gems and jewelry and sale of items made of gem by foreign investment
  4. Excavating gems and making polished gems and jewelry; sale of polished gems and jewelry and items made of jewelry


Myanmar Mining Sector Wide Impact Assessment on Limestone, Gold and Tin, Mining SWIA Consultation Draft, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), and Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), October 2016

Trade Restrictions Updated, Luther Law Firm Myanmar, January 2016

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