Australian company PanAust has been granted three exploration licences in Myanmar. The licences comprise three blocks – Hel Chain, Pin Hin Hka and Nam Awl – which provide PanAust with the first phase of a contract area that it to build into a package of tenements covering 1400sqkm in the Sagaing Division.
The announcement by PanAust, which is a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned Guangdong Rising Assets Management, follows an official signing ceremony attended by Myanmar’s Minister of Mines U Myint Aung and PanAust representatives in Myanmar on January 19.
Sagaing Division is in the northern region of the country and is considered highly prospective for copper and gold.
Basic reconnaissance work has commenced at the site and historical exploration data undertaken by western mining companies during the 1990s has been made available to PanAust by the Government of Myanmar. This data is currently under review.
PanAust managing director Dr Fred Hess said the company was delighted to have entered Myanmar and the exploration licences fitted well with PanAust’s corporate strategy to maximise returns from producing assets while advancing projects that offer potential to sustain and grow the business in the long term.
“It is an exciting time to be in Myanmar and this is an excellent opportunity to strengthen our presence in Asia. Myanmar is undergoing rapid change and PanAust stands ready to participate in the economic transition under way within the country.
“The recently held elections show a genuine commitment towards resolving issues that have held Myanmar back from realising its full potential. We are one of the first and certainly the largest ‘western’ company to have been granted an exploration licence in Myanmar,” he said.
With Myanmar’s proximity to Laos, where PanAust has a number of projects, Dr Hess said the company had been able to cost-effectively ready an exploration team for mobilisation upon the licences being granted while providing administrative support from its existing operations.
“Training and operational readiness has been taking place while we waited for the licences with a number of Myanmar nationals on the exploration team. Our focus for the upcoming year is to carry out geochemical sampling and mapping to identify potential drill targets by year-end.
“We will also strengthen our business presence in Myanmar by establishing a permanent office in Banmauk Township and continue advancing other potential exploration opportunities in the country.
“In progressing activities in Myanmar, we have leveraged our award-winning sustainability practices and will continue to do so to ensure our activities contribute to the nation’s long-term growth and prosperity.
“In response to widespread flooding throughout Myanmar during the 2015 wet season, PanAust made a US$20,000 donation to Myanmar Red Cross Services as part of our initial corporate social responsibility obligations in the country. The funds were directed to infrastructure reconstruction activities within Sagaing Division following last year’s flooding.
“We are assessing other socially responsible projects that fit within our host-community development priorities of capacity building and promoting economic independence,” he said.
In Myanmar, PanAust holds an 80% in Wuntho Resources Company Limited and has established a joint venture with Myanmar Energy Resources Group International Company Limited (MERG), a Myanmar based company, which holds the remaining 20%. Wuntho owns 100% of the rights to the areas covered by the exploration licences.