The easing of international sanctions since 2011 has seen the country implement positive changes to foreign investment laws, resulting in a > 400% increase in direct foreign investment, from < 2 billion USD to > 8 billion USD between 2012 and 2014. With its GDP forecast to increase by a further 8% in 2016, Myanmar is one of the world's fastest growing economies.
Recent positive changes to Myanmar's foreign investment landscape include;
In colonial times, the British discovered significant lead-zinc deposits in eastern Myanmar and exploited them until the country gained Independence in 1948. When coupled with the production from world-class Jade and Gemstone deposits and widespread artisanal mining of gold deposits, the country gained a reputation as a mineral-rich country. However, following the 1962 Military coup the country became politically isolated and closed to foreign investment until 2011 and as a result the minerals sector remains immature by global standards.
As a consequence of the political isolation, the country remains largely unexplored by modern exploration methods. Large portions of the prospective geology underlying the country have never been mapped in detail and systematic regional exploration has never been carried out. Furthermore, the country has never been subjected to the sort of regional geophysical surveys which have so successfully aided mineral exploration in more mature mining jurisdictions across the globe.
A further consequence of the lack of historical investment is associated with academic research within the minerals industry. There has been very little research undertaken to improve the understanding of the styles and genesis of the various known metallic deposits and hence there is a limited technical framework to apply to targeting with respect to the abundant metallic deposit styles.
Myanmar has a long history of gold and base metal production, despite a lack of foreign investment and a mining landscape that is devoid of major international mining companies.
Myanmar is thought of by resource industry leaders and economists as one of the last frontiers for exploration and mining. Recent changes to the Mining Law have improved on what is already an exciting resources investment opportunity.
Significant mineral potential is associated with several discrete metallogenic belts that extend the length of the country. These include the Wuntho-Popa magmatic arc, host to the giant Copper deposits of the Monywa District, the Slate Belt with its multitude of high grade orogenic gold deposits, the Tin-Tungsten Belt of southern Myanmar and the VMS province of northern Shan that is host to the world-class Bawdwin Zinc Deposit.
More than 500 gold and copper occurrences have been identified within Myanmar to date, with the most significant in terms of local production being associated with orogenic mineralisation occurring along a NS-trending structural zone that extends for > 1300km through the centre of the country. This central structural zone includes the globally-renowned Slate Belt, which contains abundant deposits of high grade gold mineralisation associated with multiple narrow quartz-carbonate veins.
The Wuntho-Popa Arc to the west of the central orogenic belt is host to the world-class Monywa high sulphidation epithermal copper deposits, which are currently being mined by Wanbao Mining. The terrane is also host to multiple epithermal gold deposits, including the +0.6 Moz Kyaukpahto deposit. Given the recognised potential for world-class gold and copper deposits, the Arc terrane attracted strong attention from previous explorers, including Ivanhoe Mines and Newmont Mining, who identified multiple promising gold and copper targets through systematic regional exploration in the 1990's.
A third significant metallogenic belt exists in the East Shan province of Eastern Myanmar. The belt represents an extension of the Sukhothai Fold Belt from Thailand, and despite limited previous regional exploration, preliminary field evidence indicates good potential for large scale gold and copper deposits.