Introduction: Under the leadership of the Party over the past 60 years, the energy and mining sectors have enjoyed robust growth and have contributed to infrastructure development, job creation, and better living standards. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the LPRP which falls on March 22nd, we proudly present the special report on Party prioritises energy, mineral resource development.

Story: Under the leadership of the Party over the past 60 years, the energy and mining sectors have enjoyed robust growth and have contributed to infrastructure development, job creation, and better living standards.

The Party and government place great importance on the development of energy and natural resources. They also believe that all projects in these fields must coincide with plans for social and economic development, while also preserving national protection and peace.

The main goals of this focus are to support integrated development, address poverty issues, generate revenue for the government, and remove Laos from the list of Least Developed Countries.
Laos is one of the 10 Asean countries moving forward with the development of energy and mining resources to spur drive economic growth and infrastructure development.

To this end, the Ministry of Energy and Mines has formulated a strategic development plan for 2006-2020. Energy and mining are vital sectors of the economy and play a very significant role in Laos’ economic structure.

According to the strategic plan, by 2020 the two sectors are expected to account for 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product, a huge leap from the 5.8 percent share recorded in the years 2001-2005. The projected growth rate is estimated at an annual average of 19.03 percent.

There are currently 17 power projects under construction or preparing to begin construction, managed by the government. These include the Xayaboury hydropower project, which has a massive installed capacity of 1,258 MW. Four other projects authorised by provincial authorities are also under construction.

Energy development revolves around two main factors – soaring domestic demand and an expected rise in demand in neighbouring countries.

In Laos, 881MW of power was needed in 2013. This year, demand is expected to rise to 1,682MW and to 4,664MW in 2020.

In Thailand, the consumption forecast is for 35,251MW in 2015 and 46,182MW in 2020. Vietnam needs 27,445MW this year and 48,600MW in 2020. Cambodia is predicted to need 1,200MW in 2020.

To supply this growing demand, Laos is forging ahead with hydropower development, including the installation of transmission lines and the expansion of the electricity network. Not only Lao people benefit from energy development projects, but also people in other Asean countries.

The policy of the Party and government is to ensure that all households have access to electricity. It is expected that 90 percent of households will be connected to an electricity source by 2020.

Along with hydropower development, the government is also focusing on renewable energy resources to ensure that energy security is sustainable within Asean, and is also urging cooperation in research and development.

At the 32nd Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) which took place in Vientiane last September, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong urged Asean nations to continue studies on the renewable energy market and provide the necessary funding for the promotion of environmentally friendly green energy.

At the beginning of this year, Asean energy officials met in Vientiane to discuss a cooperation roadmap, with energy efficiency, renewable energy and nuclear energy dominating the discussions. They also discussed the progress of the Asean Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation for 2016-2020.

The energy sector is one of the most important industries in the public economic system.

Mineral resources

Domestic and foreign investors continue to seek investment opportunities in the mining industry.

According to a report from the Ministry of Energy and Mines, there are 69 mining companies operating 107 projects on a total concession area of 274,663 hectares.

Fifty of these companies are running gold, copper, lead, potassium and limestone operations. The remaining operators are building factories and some are preparing to undertake excavations.

Party and government policy holds that the mining sector must process minerals as finished or semi products prior to distribution.

Source: Lao National Television News in English
Broadcast on March 19, 2015