Minerals of Laos

Laos is a land locked country in south-east Asian region .It has an area of 236800 sq.km. It is full of hills,mountain ranges ,narrow valleys and water bodies.Around 5 percent of the land area is suitable for agriculture.Paddy cultivation is the main agricultural activity of the people of Laos.The climate is subtropical to tropical in nature.The average annual rainfall is 1440 millimetre.In some pockets the rainfall may goes up to 3700 millimetre.The maximum temperature goes around 40'C in April-May period. Drought and deficit rainfall affect the agricultural activities like paddy cultivation..The two river systems are Mekong and Namu. Most of the streams and rivers join either of these two river systems. The countries bordering Laos are China,Vietnam,Cambodia,Thailand and Myanmar.Vientiane is the capital of Laos. Laos is full of hills, mountain ranges and hillocks. The major rocks are granite,basalt,dolerite, diorite, pyroxenite ,pagodite,gneiss,sandstone,marble and slate.The age of rocks varies from precambrian to quaternary period.The geological survey was carried out by the French geologists during the French colonial period.Mineral exploration of some minerals are completed by some mining companies of China, Vietnam and Australia.Mining of gold and gemstones are there from the 11th century.Laos is rich in minerals and building stones.The minerals found in Laos are gold,tin,silver,lead,zinc,iron ore, chromite,antimony,gypsum,barite,tungsten,gemstones and beryl.The gemstones are sapphire,amethyst and aquamarine.The minerals like limestone,dolomite,asbestos,rock salt,talc,kaolin,mica and feldspar are found in Laos.The building stones like granite, pagodite,marble sandstone and laterite are found in large quantities.The distribution of minerals are found all over Laos. The mineral exploration for gold and gemstones was carried out by the French geologists near the capitals and towns.The present government of Laos made liberal policy for mining and mineral exploration.Some mining companies of USA,Canada,China,Australia,Vietnam and Thailand made some exploration works and started the mechanised mining of gold,gemstones and lime stones. The distribution of minerals are confirmed in some areas.The iron ores are found in Vientiane and Xingkhong province.Tin and Tungsten are found in areas bordering Vietnam and central part of Laos.Gold is found in Vientiane Soybouri province.Gemstones are found in north-west Laos..Limestone,kaolin and glass sands are found in Vientiane province. An Australian company found some promising deposits of gold in Vientiane province. For the development of mineral industries ,the road and railway network is to be developed rapidly. Some mineral processing industries may be established to prepare mineral concentrates for export to other countries.Gold and gemstones are transported by road and air cargo.The airports are to be developed and air links are to be improved. The international airport at Vientiane has to be developed properly and may connected by flights to cities like Singapore,Bangkok, Hongkong and Manila.The ports of Vietnam and Cambodia may be used for shipment of iron ore,chromite,lead,zinc,tin,tungsten and limestone. A cement plant may be established to use the limestone and dolomite available in Laos.The minerals like barite,gypsum and antimony may be exported to the countries like India and China. Long term agreement may be signed with India, China, Japan,Australia,South Korea and France for extraction and use of minerals.and building stones.Power production is to be given priority to improve the power position in Laos . The local people may get employment in mining, mineral exploration road construction,railway development and mineral based industries.The income of the country will grow significantly on a long term basis.The health and education may improve due to income from mining in Laos.