The Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) expressed its commitment to responsible governance of the mining sector by joining the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). The IGF is a voluntary partnership committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development that welcomes member states of the United Nations.
“We are pleased to welcome Laos as the IGF’s 68th member state,” IGF Director Greg Radford said in a statement. “Laos’ unique perspective will add depth to the dialogue among IGF members. We look forward to supporting the Lao government in its efforts to build a strong and sustainable mining sector.”
Mr. Khamtanh Vongphansipaseuth, Acting Director General of the Lao Department of Mining Management in the Ministry of Energy and Mines stated “Laos is joining the IGF to strengthen global cooperation and to share knowledge and ideas on sustainable mining while simultaneously improve the conditions for responsible mining in Lao PDR.”
Laos’ mineral sector has been a strong economic driver during the past two decades and plays an important role in the country’s economic development. During 2017, the export value of mineral products reached USD 1.357 million, which constituted 6.6 per cent of Laos’ GDP and contributed USD 141 million to the government budget.
Corresponding with the mineral sector development strategy for 2016-2020, it has defined the following set of development goals based on the current mandate to regulate mining to:
- Enhance the efficiency of human resources and build and strengthen the capacity to regulate the mining sector through good governance and transparency.
- Increase mining production while increasing the environmental sustainability of mining operations.
- Reduce the number of minerals exported in raw material form, and, instead, promote the processing of mineral to produce products for domestic use and for export.
- Manage minerals development and enforce compliance of the applicable laws and contractual obligations.
- Strive to leverage mining operations by taking advantage of opportunities associated with mining sector growth.
“The government is committed to an open and accountable extractives sector. We are thankful for the support, trust and benefit this partnership will bring for Lao PDR. Besides being technically appropriate, environmentally sound and financially profitable, sustainable mining in Lao PDR needs to be socially responsible with a focus on the long-term development of the local community in mine operating areas,” said Mr. Khamtanh.
The IGF supports more than 60 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure that negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. It is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship. The International Institute for Sustainable Development has served as Secretariat for the IGF since October 2015. The Government of Canada provides core funding.