May 17, 2020

Experts call for legal protections as Myanmar prepares to increase mining activity

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3 min
Experts call for legal protections as Myanmar prepares to increase mining activity
The Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar is a nation rich with resources, and mining interests are only now beginning to scratch the surface. With this kno...

The Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar is a nation rich with resources, and mining interests are only now beginning to scratch the surface. With this knowledge of early prospects surveyed during Myanmar’s time as a British colony, these often international mining interests are eager to further explore all that Myanmar has to offer. “I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that Myanmar is what they call ‘highly prospective,’ with all the mineral surveys and work that has been done in past times, and seems to indicate that it has a very high level of mineral wealth, a wide range of mineral wealth,” John Hancock, an Australian lawyer and consultant in Myanmar’s commercial center Yangon, told news outlet Voice of America. “All the geology is very promising.”

But is Myanmar ready to enter the mining world full force? It may be very soon—but at the moment, it seems that experts are advising both foreign mining companies and Myanmar communities to take care and build up stronger precautions to ensure that both are legally protected.

As the Voice of America report explains, there is a significant lack of legislature surrounding the mining industry in Myanmar’s government infrastructure—while some constitutional amendments are helping smaller mining companies gain a foothold, at this point the lack of legal protection could leave mining companies vulnerable. On the other end of the spectrum, a lack of protection and communication with local communities in Myanmar has been leading to a critical lack of trust in global mining companies coming into local areas—an issue which has caused friction and even violence where communities feel like their needs and interests are being ignored:

Some of Myanmar’s most valuable mining resources lie in ethnic minority regions such as Shan and Kachin states, where ongoing fighting has curbed development. Controversy and protests have dogged projects elsewhere. Since 2012, the development of a Chinese owned copper mine near Monywa town in central Myanmar has triggered protests and bloodshed by locals angry over confiscated lands and pollution. Meghna Abraham, a spokesperson for rights group Amnesty International, said the Monywa mine highlights problems across the industry. “The issues that we are seeing, others were reporting from other mining projects. There still hasn’t been a proper process of consultation with the affected communities," Abraham said.


Before mining in Myanmar can be fully functional and successful, both mining companies and the communities they are entering will have to feel safe and accommodated with a true acknowledgment of social responsibility and resource sharing. According to experts, it starts with stronger legal protections and regulations all around.

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[SOURCE: Voice of America]

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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