SIR – Kyaw Ko Ko’s article about Mandalay traders claiming the gemstone law is good news for the industry is extremely ill-informed. It is irresponsible for journalists to repeat what the vested interests say without critically reporting the facts at all. In this case, the failure to look into the gravity and notoriety of the situation plays in the hands of those who want to whitewash the issue. The new law governing the gemstone sector passed by parliament in December 2018 was drafted by lawmakers who have little understanding of the sector. The legislation was a result of intense lobbying by private interests and failed to take into account the ongoing reform in gemstone policy. Global Witness last month criticised that the bill was developed separately from a gemstone policy “currently in its final stages and ignores the recommendations of an environmental management plan” commissioned by the Ministry for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. … [Read more...] about Letter: New gemstone law changes little
Conflict minerals law
The four conflict materials include gold, coltan, tin and tungsten. These minerals are known as conflict minerals because much of the supply is sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring countries where a decadeslong civil war is being waged. LG Chem said in a 2017 sustainability report published Monday that it banned the purchase of the four conflict minerals from last year. With increased public attention on social responsibility, the company said it will continue to focus on ethical purchases of minerals to establish a validated, conflict-free supply chain. “As part of our society, we will continue to conduct activities that can go beyond ‘contribution,’ but to ‘coexist’ in society,” said LG Chem Vice President Park Jin-soo. In the US, legislation that compels US companies to audit their supply chains to ensure they are not using conflict minerals was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. The law aimed to … [Read more...] about LG Chem vows to refrain from using ‘conflict minerals’
EI SUN OH FOR those of us who came of age during the last few decades of the last century and paid attention to world events, South Africa has always had a small but special place in one corner of our hearts. Many of us witnessed its democratic transition, albeit on television screens and newspaper headlines, and were rather overjoyed when it took place, but were equally appalled by the degradation that has taken place since. The various pieces of mostly arid land that make up modern South Africa of course had their glorious history in the distant past, and were patched together by European colonizers into one or a few entities mostly for the sake of administrative convenience. The first substantive wave of European migration to and colonization of South Africa were not by the British but by the Dutch. They gradually settled down and formed their distinctive, rugged communities of what came to be knowns as the Boers. Competition over land, water and natural resources with the natives … [Read more...] about A checkered South Africa can do better
MANILA: China and the Philippines are discussing joint mineral exploration in the South China Sea despite an ongoing territorial conflict over the strategic waterway, the Philippine foreign secretary said Friday. The two countries, long embroiled in a dispute over their competing claims to the area, are hoping talks will open the door for them to jointly tap its resources, Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said. "We are pushing it aggressively because we need it," Cayetano told reporters, adding the countries would each form a working group to explore options for joint exploration."Then we will find a framework under our constitution that will allow us ... joint exploration," he said. "We both want it."The South China Sea is a major trading route and fishing ground believed to have vast mineral resources, and is also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the area but in 2016 a UN-backed tribunal acting on a case brought by … [Read more...] about Manila, Beijing discuss joint sea exploration
Last week, China said it plans to build a "Polar Silk Road" that will open shipping lanes across the largely pristine region at the top of the world. It's an ambitious idea for a country that lacks an Arctic border, and it has raised concerns around the world about China's ultimate intentions and its capacity for environmental stewardship. Although these are reasonable worries, they're almost certainly overblown. In theory, melting Arctic ice will create a significant economic opportunity. By one account, the region holds 22% of the world's oil and gas reserves. As the ice recedes due to climate change, those reserves will be easier to mine. As new shipping lanes open, they should also be easier to transport. A cargo vessel going from Shanghai to Rotterdam via the Northwest Passage, rather than through the Panama Canal, will shave 3,540km off its journey. Already, some 900 Arctic infrastructure projects are at various stages of development.To be sure, most won't get anywhere. It's hard … [Read more...] about Is China’s Arctic expansion plan a reason to worry?