Over the years, the ASEAN mineral market has been bringing strong opportunities for member states. Countries in the region that are increasing investment in minerals, manufacturing, and construction markets are bringing in large resources.

* Where the world-scale mineral producers are concentrated

Discuss on the sidelines of the 21st ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Minerals (ASOMM) recently in Hanoi, Mr. Nguyen Van Nguyen – Deputy Director General of Vietnam General Department of Geology and Minerals said that ASEAN is a dynamic development area in the field of mining, some countries have a long history of mineral production, while others are emerging producers. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand are among ASEAN’s major producers at the world-scale production level.

Indonesia is the world’s ranked oil and gas, tin, nickel, copper, gold, and coal mining country. In 2016, the country produced 1% oil and gas, 9.5% nickel, 3.6% copper and 2.6% gold, 18% coal… across the globe. Indonesia accounts for 18% of tin mining and is the world’s third-largest producer. The mineral sector accounted for 7.2% of Indonesia’s GDP in 2016 (including coal), with 1.4 million workers employed in this sector.

Malaysia produces quite a few mineral commodities such as oil and gas, bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, tin, tin, angtimon, in addition to minerals of building materials and industrial minerals, energy such as clay, mica, dolomit, caolin-fenspat, limestone, silica sand, sand and gravel, coal. Minerals produced from by-products of tin mining include ilmenite, monazite, xenotime, rutile, struverite (a niobium-tantali mineral), and zircon as well as silver from gold mining. Other mineral resources, such as copper, nickel, and silica rock, are currently untapped. Malaysia also has a processing plant of strategic significance for rare earth elements, using concentrates from a mine in Western Australia.

The Philippines holds a quarter of the world’s nickel production and 6% of the world’s total nickel reserves. The Philippines is also a manufacturer of copper, gold, nickel, chromium, iron, manganese with great potential. The mining sector contributes about 1% to the country’s GDP and creates about 240,000 direct jobs.

Thailand is one of the countries with the world’s leading iron, copper, manganese, gold, silver, tin, tungsten, zinc and lead, fenspat and gypsum, and salt mines (Sodium-Potassium). As a copper producer until 2015 as well as gold and silver until 2017. The country has prospects for fertilizer minerals, potassium. The mining and quarrying sector is a small industry but more and more employers are. The country has the opportunity to increase its mining output.

* Vietnam is classified as a promising group

Nguyen Van Nguyen added: Among the group of 10 ASEAN countries, Myanmar and Vietnam are considered to be two promising mineral-producing countries in the world. Myanmar is the country with the large gemstone resource in the world and the second-largest tin producer. Vietnam is the world’s large producer of tungsten – bismuth and is considered to have a copper outlook.

Quarrying in Vietnam

In terms of reserves, Vietnamese minerals are considered to have world-class reserves including: bauxite, tungsten-bismuth, copper, graphite, nickel, rare earth, silica sand, titanium-zircon, tungsten, zinc, white marble, and cement and tiling materials. Bauxite, rare earth reserves are considered the world’s leading but the production capacity is small. Mining and quarrying as a building material in Vietnam are estimated to contribute more than 8% of Vietnam’s GDP and create about 240,000 jobs.

For Myanmar, although its mining output is relatively small, it is growing rapidly and contributing significantly to GDP. The country is considered a rapidly emerging mineral producer.

Myanmar-produced mineral items include: antimony, cement raw materials, coal, copper, fluorite, gemstone, lead, manganese, natural gas, nickel, petroleum, tin, tungsten, and zinc.

Lao PDR is considered a country with geological prospects and produces a variety of minerals, including copper, gold, silver, potassium deposit salt, barite, zinc, iron, coal, lead, antimony, marble, limestone. This mineral production is small but contributes significantly to the national GDP of the Lao PDR at an average of 6% per year from 2016-2020.

Brunei Darussalam has resources mainly extracted from oil and gas, accounting for about 90% of its exports. Brunei has the capacity and potential for mineral processing thanks to its abundant energy resources, plus large-scale fertilizer production (ammonia/urea) and hydrogen production using natural gas as raw materials.

* Mineral trade boosts ASEAN economy

Singapore is a major importer of mineral materials for its manufacturing industry. The country is the center of gold refining and trading and is the owner of Indonesia’s major gold refining plants in ASEAN. Mineral trade plays an important role for Singapore, with mineral products accounting for 14% of total imports and 25% of exports.

In terms of trade within and outside ASEAN, mineral production contributes a major part of the economies of many ASEAN member states. Indonesia, for example, has generated nearly 40% of its exports from processing and supplying ore.

For the Lao PDR, minerals and metals account for more than half of exports and more than a quarter of imports. For Malaysia, the mineral and metals sector generates 25% of exports and 28% of imports. Malaysia’s mineral manufacturing and processing sectors generate the majority of the country’s trade. Myanmar, which has some of the fastest-growing mineral and metals trade, generated 30 percent of total exports in 2018 (worth $30.1 million) and 37 percent of imports (worth $112.6 million).

The Philippines considers mining an important sector, but minerals and metals generate a small but still significant proportion of trade, accounting for 9% of exports and 24% of imports.

Data from the World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS) shows that Vietnam’s mineral export value in 2017 was $1.1 billion and import value at $844 million.

With the development prospects for ASEAN mineral cooperation as above, ASEAN represents a current and future demand center for mineral production. Deputy Director General Nguyen Van Nguyen said that the ASEAN Mineral Cooperation Action Plan 2016-2025 (AMCAP-III) Phase 2 (2021-2025) has just been adopted by ASEAN Ministers on Minerals to guide ASEAN mineral cooperation for member states to jointly build investment in minerals, develop the mineral industry, expand trade and ensure sustainable approaches to mineral development.