The Kingdom of Thailand expressed its commitment to responsible governance of the mining sector by joining the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF).
“We are pleased to welcome Thailand as the IGF’s 64th member state,” IGF Director Greg Radford said in a statement.
“Thailand has undertaken a number of reforms to improve good governance in its mining sector and to help contribute to all aspects of social and economic life. Its unique perspective will add depth to the dialogue among IGF members. We look forward to supporting Thailand’s government in its efforts to build a strong and sustainable mining sector.”
Thailand welcomed the opportunity to engage with fellow IGF members.
“I believe that strengthening global cooperation and integration among IGF members, along with the exchange of ideas among policy-makers, experts and operators, is especially vital to achieving our ultimate goal of sustainable mining,” said Wisanu Tabtieng, Director-General of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines.
“Thailand is committed to playing an active role in working bilaterally and regionally to address the global challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals, including through such fora as the ASEAN, the APEC and the IGF.”
Thailand recently laid out a long-term National Economic and Social Development Plan for 2017–2036.
“The 20-year strategic plans and reforms will be adopted and implemented by all sectors, including the mining sector,” Tabtieng said.
“Our goal for the mining industry is not only to support economic prosperity, but also to achieve mutual social benefits, environmental stewardship as well as to engender trust from all stakeholders.”
Thailand’s economy has undergone a dramatic period of growth since 1980: gross domestic product (GDP) has expanded thirteenfold when measured at current prices in US dollars. Thailand is now the world’s 26th largest economy, with a GDP of USD 406.8 billion in 2016.
The mining sector constitutes 2.8 per cent of Thailand’s GDP. It also plays an important role in supporting economic prosperity by providing essential raw materials to other sectors.
Some 585 mines and quarries are currently operating in Thailand. Around 40 minerals are produced throughout the country, including industrial minerals for construction, cement and ceramic industries. Over 90 per cent of mineral production serves domestic demands. The remaining is exported, at a value of around USD 629 million in 2016. Mineral imports to serve domestic consumption were valued at USD 1.8 billion.
Corresponding to the long-term national plans and reforms, the mining sector in Thailand has recently been reformed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The recent reforms include:
- Setting a strategic direction towards sustainable mining
- Revising laws and regulations
- Establishing the National Mineral Management Policy Commission
- Reforming and improving government administration
- Enhancing and implementing accountability, transparency and public participation in the mining sector
- Enhancing the use of innovation and technology
- Strengthening regional and global cooperation and integration
“A sustained pace and sound implementation will be crucial for translating the reform effort into desired outcomes,” Tabtieng said.
“Reversing the relative erosion of competitiveness, improving the effectiveness of the public sector, as well as improving performance, accountability, transparency and participation in the mining sector will be particularly important to keep Thailand moving towards sustainable development.”
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. Core funding is provided by the Government of Canada.
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