Principal applicable environmental laws

What are the principal environmental laws applicable to the mining industry? What are the principal regulatory bodies that administer those laws?

Until 2012, there was no specific law protecting the environment in Myanmar. The 2008 Constitution does contain provisions guaranteeing the conservation of natural resources and the prevention of environmental degradation. The principle environmental laws applicable in the mining industry are:

  • the Mining Law;
  • the Mining Rules;
  • the Environmental Conservation Law, enacted in March 2012; and
  • the Environmental Rules, enacted on 5 June 2014.

The Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure and National Environmental Quality Emission Guideline were introduced in December 2015.

Environmental review and permitting process

What is the environmental review and permitting process for a mining project? How long does it normally take to obtain the necessary permits?

See questions 34 and 35. The Environmental Conservation Law and its rules also regulate for the permit requirement. No estimate of timing can be given.

Closure and remediation process

What is the closure and remediation process for a mining project? What performance bonds, guarantees and other financial assurances are required?

The holder of a permit may surrender the permit to close a mining process. MoNREC must be given at least one month’s notice prior to the return of a permit. MoNREC will then cancel the entire permit if the return is with respect to the entire area or otherwise amend the permit accordingly. The permit holder has the right to remove from the permit area within six months of cancellation any building, machineries installed or other movable property and mineral products that have been extracted prior to the cancellation of the permit. The holder of the permit shall pay a security deposit, advance payment or both. The fund for the closure shall be established at any of the state-owned bank deposits of at least 2 per cent of the investment amount.

Restrictions on building tailings or waste dams

What are the restrictions for building tailings or waste dams?

There is a specific provision relating to monitoring, assessing and compensating for waste dams for five years continuously. The permit holder must prepare the plan for environmental conservation works that may have detrimental effects owing to mining operation. In disposing of liquids, wastes, tailings and fumes that have resulted from mineral production the holder of a mineral production permit or a manager shall undertake any laboratory tests as may be necessary for the prevention of pollution of water, air and land in the environment and for the safety of living beings. The Chief Inspector (the Director General of the Department of Mines) will inspect the environmental and social impact of the prospecting, exploration, production, processing activity of mineral, industrial mineral and stone.