State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi received representatives from the International Investors for Mineral Development Association (IIMDA), to discuss to measures to improve transparency in the sector, including enhancing the availability of data and providing public access to resource agreements. International standards such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) were also considered. The State Counsellor called on IIMDA members to pay attention to transparency and accountability in the areas where they operated.
Richard Taylor, IIMDA Chairman, said that responsible resource sector investment could play an important role in developing Myanmar’s economy. Investment in the sector by companies that adhered to international best practice could be a catalyst for change and would address challenges posed by traditional mining practices. There were a number of lessons learnt from international experience in promoting inclusive economic growth to mitigating the impacts of resource development. The State Counsellor underlined to the delegation the importance of early and ongoing engagement with local communities. IIMDA members discussed stakeholder engagement activities in Australia the United States and examples from the Asia region.
IIMDA members raised concerns about the protracted processes and red tape involved in progressing approvals through multiple departments and ministries. The State Counsellor encouraged the investors to work closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation (MoNREC) to eliminate unnecessary processes while maintaining and improving appropriate levels of scrutiny and transparency.
The International Investors for Mineral Development Association (IIMDA) is an association of 23 members representing Myanmar companies and their international joint-venture partners, including PanAust, Freeport, MPRG, Unity Energy and Resources, Asia Pacific Mining, MSP CAT and Eugene Quah & Associates. The majority of companies are registered in Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. IIMDA investment in Myanmar is projected to be between $50 million and $100 million in coming years, providing employment for up to 3000 people. Exploration research may lead to mining projects in the future but will not involve any land disturbance or impacts during the exploration phase. IIMDA is committed to applying and promoting international good practice standards in their Myanmar operations.