Deal with Asia Energy on Phulbari coalmine invalid

Reproduced from the London Mining Network news story:

London-listed GCM Resources’ subsidiary Asia Energy has been accused by a Bangladesh parliamentary committee of having no valid deal since 2006 with the government for any exploration or mining in Phulbari.

The parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry has recommended that the Government’s Energy and Mineral Resources Division take action against GCM Resources Plc, the mother company of the AEC, for doing business on the London Stock Exchange showing the Phulbari coalfield project as its own resources.

See http://www.daily-sun.com/index.php?view=details&archiev=yes&arch_date=21-01-2013&type=Deal-with-Asia-Energy-on-Phulbari-coalmine-invalid&pub_no=386&cat_id=1&menu_id=2&news_type_id=1&index=2.

The original article from the Daily Sun:

Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pty Ltd has no valid deal since 2006 with the government for any exploration or mining in Phulbari coalmine in Dinajpur.

The parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry has recommended that Energy and Mineral Resources Division take action against GCM Resources, Plc, the mother company of the AEC, for doing business on London stock market showing Phulbari coalfield project as its own resources.

Asia Energy got an exploration licence, but it expired on January 27, 2006 as the then government allowed the British company to conduct only feasibility study for two years from January 28, 2004.

In March 2004, Asia Energy also received approval from then state minister for power and energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain to get an exploration licence for ten years.

Later, the Prime Minister’s Office asked the energy and mineral resources division to take action against those who granted exploration licence to Asia Energy for 10 years. But the investigation findings have not yet come to light.

EMRD is now investigating why the then government asked for depositing only two percent royalty for Phulbari coal project, although it fixed six percent royalty for the project.

While visiting the GCM, Plc website, this correspondent found that Asia Energy got exploration licence for 30 years and it is now doing business with the coalfield project.

According to the mines and minerals act of Bangladesh, any company is allowed for open-pit mining for ten years while for underground mining for 20 years subject to approval from the prime minister.

Late last year, the parliamentary watchdog recommended taking action against the GCM for continuing their business on London Stock Exchange showing Phulbari Coalfield project.

“We have recommended that EMRD take action against the GCM as it has claimed that Phulbari Coalfield project is its own resources,” Subid Ali Bhuiyan, chairman of the standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry, told daily sun on Sunday.

He said the committee members at a meeting on January 6, 2013 expressed satisfaction after the GCM had removed its claims on Phulbari coal project from its website. “We have advised the EMRD to be alert as no one can illegally claim the country’s mineral resources as its own,” he said.

Prof Anu Muhammad said the government should claim compensation from GCM Plc. “The government will have to force the company out of the country by March 29. If it fails, the national committee will stage huge demonstrations at Phulbari on March 30.”

In reply to a query about recent controversy over the activities of Asia Energy at Phulbari coalmine, Prime Minister’s Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said the company had received a licence only to conduct a survey.

He said Asia Energy is yet to get a coal-mining licence for Phulbari. The government would not sign any mining deal without determining underground water in the country’s northern region, he added.

In an official letter on October 14 last year, the home ministry informed the local administration that the company (Asia Energy) is keen to carry out survey in Nawabganj, Parbatipur, Birampur and Phulbari areas for possible coalmine developments.

The officials concerned were disappointed at the decision as energy division is the legal authority to allow any company to do such work.

Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh), a subsidiary of GCM plc, had earlier proposed implementing Phulbari coal project with an estimated investment of $2 billion.

 

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