Government goes after old gold debt from mining firms
GOLD mining companies that have failed to hand over an agreed portion of their gold finds to the government are to be sued by the authorities.
U Tan Dine, a managing director at the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation, said defaulting companies owe nearly 17,000 ticals of pure gold (one tical equals 0.576 ounces). That is worth about US$190,000 at today’s prices.
The government is to launch civil suits against five out of 181 companies involved in a production-sharing system, he said. The amount owed goes back to 2007. The previous government sued three companies for 162.21 ticals.
“Companies should be alert to changes in policy on the part of the government,” U Tan Dine told The Myanmar Times. “We don’t want to resort to prosecution, but the amount we are owed is too great.”
U Tan Dine said the government was prioritising its claims and seeking its dues from those companies that could afford to pay. “The government wants to get back what it is owed, and it will do what it has to do to get it,” he said.
Most gold mining companies are located in Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Mandalay and Bago regions, and Kachin, Kayin and Mon states.
The five companies to be sued are Shwe Sin Hein, Moe Hein Tun, Htay Win Tun and Moe Kyo Lion in Sagaing Region, as well as Nilar Hninsi in Singu township, Mandalay Region. The government has announced in stateowned media its intent to launch legal action against them in Nay Pyi Taw.
The first step for the ministry is to demand payment of the gold owed. Officials can also order the offending company struck from the list of authorised firms. The company may plead that they were unable to mine in their designated area because of unrest. But action will be taken against any company deemed to be in a position to pay.
“Those five companies are still operating, so we’re planning to sue them,” said U Tan Dine. “Legal action will be suspended if they pay the debt, which they can do at any time, even after the case has begun. But the state will get as much as it can.”
U Tan Dine said that if the courts rule in the governments favour and the company can’t pay, the will follow due process and seek a warrant for obtaining the company’s property.
After dealing with these five companies, the government intends to go after the others, he said.
The five companies do not have publicly available contact details and could be reached for comment.
‘The government wants to get back what it is owed, and it will do what it has to do to get it.’
U Tan Dine Ministry of Natural Resources