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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    29 June 2012

APEC ministers meet focuses on mining, metals cooperation


Ministers responsible for mining in the Asia-Pacific region met in St Petersburg, Russia yesterday to discuss trade and investment in the mining and metals sectors.

The agenda included supply and demand trends for minerals, resource management and steps to boost regulatory efficiency and mitigate the environmental impact of the industry.

A statement by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum noted that the group's 21 members accounted for 70 per cent of the world's metal and mineral production. Apec members are also the biggest exporters as well as accounting for the lion’s share of consumption of minerals and metals.

"The volumes of the consumed resources are continuously growing. Therefore, this growth will continue further," Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said.

"The reliable supply of raw materials is crucial to the region’s sustainable development," Manturov said. "We must develop new deposits and build new refineries. That means it is necessary to provide the flows of investments into the real sector of Apec economies."

"However, we cannot limit ourselves to measures that merely increase the extraction of mineral resources," he said. “Within Apec, we have a unique opportunity to coordinate our efforts in this sphere."

Manturov also recognised that the region’s development can be based on a harmonised effort to improve living standards. "A balance between the interests of society and business is needed to keep such spheres as employment levels and environmental protection in line," he said.
Ambassador Muhamad Noor, executive director of the Apec Secretariat in Singapore, underscored the importance of the mining sector to regional prosperity.  
"Mining resources, production, processing and trade are providing a significant contribution to the economies of the region, driving growth and delivering jobs," Noor said.
"Member economies are helping to generate greater prosperity in the region and bring potentially significant benefits for mining stakeholders," he said.
Apec's members include the United States, Japan, China, Russia and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations except Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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