Obama opens door for Burma mining investment « Mining Blog

Obama opens door for Burma mining investment

18. May 2012,

The Obama Administration has declared Burma “open to U.S. mining investment” after more than a decade of the administration’s sanctions against the military regime.

As pointed out by Mineweb (18 May 2012), this means that “U.S. mining and exploration companies can now officially join their Australian, Canadian, Chinese, European, French, Thai and Korean counterparts in the rush to develop Burma’s mineral riches”:


On 17 May, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,announced that: “The presumption is that our oil and gas companies, our mining companies, our financial services companies are all now free to look for investments that can [bring] mutual benefits to Burma and them.”

However, civil society organisations, and others, are by no means united in believing the time is yet right to “open the door” to such investors.

The US government maintains that its new policy will include safeguards preventing US companies from doing business with individuals who have engaged in human rights abuses and with companies with ties to Burma’s military.

But, at present, virtually all extractive projects (except those in territory controlled by the Karen National Union) derive income for the armed forces.

According to the Financial Times (cited by Mineweb), Caterpillar and other US companies are, in fact already doing business in Burma – through third parties – while France, South Korea, Thailand and China have all invested in extractive industries in Burma.

Burma’s largest mining project is the Tagaung Taung Nickel Mine, owned by the China Nonferrous Metal Mining Company and the State of Myanmar.

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