Mining and Development in Lao PDR
Lao PDR is a landlocked country which has experienced strong growth while working to overcome challenges including low literacy levels, a shortage of skilled workers, and infrastructure shortfalls. With the assistance of development partners and supported by government regulatory reforms, Lao PDR continues to integrate into the global trade and investment system.
Although the Lao economy remains dominated by subsistence agriculture, mining of metals including gold, copper and tin has made a significant contribution to government revenue over the past 15 years.
MMG LXML Sepon
Sepon is an open-pit copper mining operation in Savannakhet province, southern Lao PDR. The name of the company in Lao PDR is Lane Xang Minerals Limited (LXML) and the company is jointly owned by MMG Limited (90%) and the Lao Government (10%).
LXML has contributed more than US$1.4 billion in direct revenue to the Lao PDR in taxes, royalties, and dividends since operations commenced at Sepon in 2002. Indirect benefits through employment, training, community development, and payments to local suppliers have built a lasting legacy for rural social and economic development.
People and community
LXML employs approximately 3,000 people in Lao PDR. These jobs have injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the Lao economy, especially in communities close to the mine. Training and development in vocational trades such as electrical and mechanical engineering, for example, has given Lao employees transferable skills and qualifications. LXML has also provided scholarships and support for dozens of Lao employees to complete tertiary studies in accounting, information technology (IT), communications and various business disciplines.
LXML’s Village Development Fund (VDF) focuses on small-scale development projects such as fish ponds, meeting places, irrigation, and other activities, in consultation with local villagers close to Sepon mine. Since 2010 more than US$2.5 million has been allocated from the fund.
LXML provides a further US$750,000 per annum to a community development fund managed in cooperation with Vilabouly district. Since operations commenced in 2003, LXML has contributed more than US$7.6 million to build schools, hospitals, water, sanitation, roads, and other infrastructure.
Sepon procures 75% of its food and vegetables from local suppliers. Local business groups have earned US$24 million since Sepon commenced operations. MMG is also focusing on developing resilient livelihoods and increasing self-sufficiency through high value agriculture projects, including improved rice yields and citrus plantations.
MMG’s unique US$3 million maternal and child health nutrition partnership with UNICEF and the Lao Ministry of Health is supporting outreach programs in four provinces. This program, including volunteers from ethnic minorities and the Lao Women’s Union, provides health services to mothers and their children in remote areas.
Pictured: Supporting local livelihoods through food production.
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