There have been a number of recent developments in Central Asia including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. On 10 August, Chifeng Lane Xang Minerals Limited addressed 60 Lao government and community representatives in Vientiane on Sepon mine’s progress and future plans. LXML General Manager Paul Harris delivered a business update on the company’s plans to extend Sepon’s mine life through extensive exploration and significant investment in new plant and equipment.
The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Thongphat Inthavong, and the Vice Governor of Savannakhet Province Viengthavisone Thephachanh.
Multiple government agencies, including the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance, Labour Ministry, community representatives and grassroot organisations also attended the meeting. LXML routinely holds stakeholder meetings at regular intervals, but this meeting had been postponed temporarily due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Participants addressed safety and environmental performance, the challenges of operating during the COVID-19 crisis, economic benefits to Laos, infrastructure, labour issues, plans for mine closure and community development.
Thanks to support from the Savannakhet Department of Health, LXML Sepon has fully vaccinated 82% of its workforce of approximately 5,000 employees and contractors, and 95% with a single dose. LXML has introduced strict hygiene measures, including quarantine and testing, and is striving to vaccinate all employees and contractors to prevent spread of COVID-19 and protect employees, families, and communities.
“Sepon operation faced many challenges, but with ongoing support from stakeholders, we are confident we’ll overcome them,” said Paul Harris, LXML general manager.
Chifeng LXML has contributed US$1.5 billion in direct revenue to the Laos Government in taxes, royalties and dividends since operations commenced in 2003, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in indirect benefits through local procurement, business and community development. LXML Sepon has entered a phase of regeneration and growth due to Chifeng’s investment to realize the potential of gold resources and other minerals in Laos.