Andaman Sea, Bay of Bengal, sapphires, rubies, great finds
Myanmar has a rich and varied supply of minerals. Most of the mines are located in the mountainous areas in the west and along the Tenasserim coast. Such precious stones as jade, rubies, and sapphires are mined, as are copper, nickel, silver, lead, and zinc. Since some of the resources were located in rebel-controlled areas, the political stabilization of the early 1990s has increased foreign investor interest in mining these natural resources.
In the early 1900s the Burma Oil Company was a major world producer of petroleum. Because petroleum production fell during the 1980s, the government invited foreign companies to prospect for oil both on land and in the sea. Signing bonuses paid by oil companies were one of the main sources of foreign exchange for the government after the collapse of the economy following the 1988 rebellion. So far searching on land has produced no great finds and several of the companies, along with the principal company, Amoco Corporation, have withdrawn. In 1999 some 3.7 million barrels of crude petroleum were produced. Also, after extensive natural gas resources were discovered in the Bay of Bengal, French and American companies joined in a venture to construct a pipeline from the Andaman Sea to Thailand across Myanmar’s Tenasserim region.
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