ASEAN is a region rich in mineral resources with vast potential for new discoveries. Minerals will gradually emerge to be one of the main growth drivers in Asia’s economy. The total value of minerals trade in ASEAN has increased by more than three-fold in the past decade, increasing from about USD14 billion in the year 2004 to USD44 billion in 2013.[1]

The mineral sector supports ASEAN’s economic activity through the provision of primary raw materials necessary for society and industry needs. It would be impossible for infrastructure, construction and manufacturing industries to operate in an economy without an adequate and constant supply of minerals. Alongside mineral’s economic importance, sustainable practices at every stage of minerals development are necessary and environmental impacts of mining to people, biodiversity, forests and water need to be considered.

This is the context for the implementation of the ASEAN Minerals Cooperation Action Plan 2016-2025 (AMCAP-III) Phase 1: 2016-2020, which aims to promote environmentally and socially sustainable mineral development.

AMCAP-III Phase 1: 2016-2020, which is the third implementation plan for minerals since the AMCAP’s inception in 2005, serves as a blueprint for ASEAN minerals cooperation to further enhance ASEAN mineral sector dynamism with a vision to “Create a vibrant and competitive ASEAN mineral sector for the well-being of the ASEAN people through enhancing trade and investments and strengthening cooperation and capacity for sustainable mineral development in the region.” It consists of four (4) Strategic Areas, namely:

  • Facilitating and Enhancing Trade and Investment in Minerals;
  • Promoting Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Mineral Development;
  • Strengthening Institutional and Human Capacities in the ASEAN Minerals Sector; and,
  • Maintaining Efficient and Up-To-Date ASEAN Minerals Database, including its infrastructure towards achieving AEC integration in the minerals sector.

A Mid-Term Review (MTR) mechanism will be pursued to monitor the progress in the implementation of AMCAP-III as well as to identify areas that may be potentially require intervention to ensure their timely completion by 2025. The MTR for AMCAP-III Phase I will be undertaken in 2018 and for Phase 2 in 2023.

Historically, the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Minerals (ASOMM) is the main forum for discussion of matters relating to ASEAN cooperation in minerals. ASOMM is held at least once a year to appraise, direct and coordinate ASEAN cooperation activities in the minerals sector. Minerals cooperation in ASEAN was further strengthened through the establishment of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Minerals (AMMin) in 2005 as venue for the ASEAN ministers to discuss issues and developments of common interest, and to set policy directions for the cooperation in ASEAN minerals sector.  ASOMM, which was organised about 9 years earlier, continued to be AMMin’s operating arm in the coordination and implementation of programmes, projects and activities and of policy directions set by the AMMin. The next ASOMM (17th ASOMM) and AMMin (6th AMMin) will be held back-to-back in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in November 2017.

[1] Source: ASEAN Secretariat, based on submission from ASEAN Member States