Collapse in minerals exports robs junta of key revenue

The closure of Myanmar’s biggest mines due to the post-coup conflict has contributed to an 80 percent plummet in export earnings from the sector over the last two years.

Monthly earnings from Myanmar’s mining exports have shrunk from more than US$150 million to only $30 million since the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Although on-off border restrictions imposed by China to limit COVID-19 continue to disrupt trade, much of this 80 percent drop is due to a halt in production at copper mines in Sagaing Region run by Chinese companies Wanbao and Yangtze, which revealed on May 6 that operations had been suspended since soon after the February 2021 military coup.

This has denied the junta a key source of foreign currency, the short supply of which has been indicated by the regime’s imposition of capital controls in recent months.

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