Australia's Oxiana Resources announced on Monday, March 14, that it had started copper production at its Sepone mine two weeks ahead of schedule, after two successful years of gold mining operations in the same concession area in central Laos' Savannakhet province. Mr. Owen Hegarty, Oxiana's managing director, discusses his company's mining operations in Laos in an exclusive interview with VOA.
He says during the past two years, Oxiana was able to produce 300,000 ounces of gold, 20% more than originally expected. Further exploration and drilling allowed the company to increase the resources base, which led to the decision to increase output in 2004. With that decision, the company built another gold processing plant which was commissioned on January 31, 2005.
For the last two years(2003 and 2004), Oxiana has paid approximately US$4 million to the provincial government of Savannakhet, in addition to US$1.5 million in PAYE taxes.
Listen to Part 1 of our report on Oxiana for details.