Alabaster Mining Venture Gears Up Operations
Laos-China Precious Stone Development Co., Ltd plans to increase alabaster stone excavation during the first five years of its concession period in Attapeu province after commencing mining operations this year.
The company also plans to mine 3,000 tonnes next year, 5,000 tonnes in 2018, 10,000 tonnes in 2019, 15,000 tonnes in 2020 and will reach 20,000 tonnes annually over the 20 year concession period, the company reported at its inaugural project board meeting this week.
Ninety percent of total products will be exported with the remainder processed for domestic consumption creating job opportunities for Lao people and contributing income to the local economy.
The company is a joint venture between the Lao government holding 40 percent and the Poly Mining Development Company (Hong Kong) with 60 percent, which was established on June 19, 2015. In February this year both sides agreed to study the mining of alabaster stone at Phoukanghong Mountain in Phouvong district on an area of over 44 square kilometres.
According to a technical study by the Lao Geology and Minerals Department, the quantity of stone in the area was about two million tonnes with an average price of around US$3,000 per tonne.
“Only 450,000 tonnes of the total two million tonnes is the best grade for the world market while the remainder can be processed into other products,” department Deputy Director, Mr. Khoun Phetsaengsy who is in charge the project told Vientiane Times yesterday.
The amount of alabaster stone extracted from the concession area could be increased if the project undertakes more studies and excavation after the initial 20 year concession period.
The government believes the concession will greatly contribute to funding local infrastructure development, social assistance and increase government revenue.
This year the company presented more than 20 billion kip to local authorities for social development and contributed to important events. The company also provided a 2.53 billion kip concession fee to construct a 30km road from Phouvong district to the project area.
The high sales price of alabaster attracted many local people in recent years who flocked to Phoukanghong Mountain, where they dug up blocks of the mineral to sell.
At that time, the government in cooperation with local authorities banned the removal of alabaster by local people.
Alabaster stone is also found in other areas in the country especially Huaphan province.
Source: Vientiane Times