INTRODUCTION TO LAO PDR

The Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west.

Laos is ideally situated to market minerals to the rapidly developing economies the surrounding countries.

Laos has an abundance of hydroelectric power, a rapidly developing road network and a high speed rail link to China under construction.

Laos has a population of approximately 7 million people. The majority are Buddhist and the people are renowned for a peaceful nature. As a result, Laos is one of the safest countries in Asia to operate and government has been stable since independence in 1975.

Laos has a communist state system, but has moved progressively toward a market economy. Development of the Sepon, Phu Kham and Ban Houayxai mines by Australian companies has demonstrated Government willingness to support foreign investment in the mining industry. These mines contribute a large portion of foreign revenue for Laos, but they are nearing the end of their reserves so the Government is strongly motivated to support new projects.

A complex political history before independence and a centrally planned economy between 1975 and 1982 shielded Laos from rapid advances in modern exploration. As a result, Laos is now one of the least explored countries in Asia despite having some of the most attractive geology. This adds up to an exploration opportunity.

Laos Mineral Development

In the past two decades, three world class mineral deposits have been developed in Laos (Sepon copper-gold, Phu Kham copper-gold and Ban Houayxai gold-silver). Laos also includes part of the Loei fold belt that contains the 5Moz Chatree gold deposit. Despite this demonstrated mineral endowment, Laos remains one of the least explored countries in Asia.

Recent enactment of a new mining law has clarified uncertainty in the regulatory regime, but implementing regulations are still under development so the government has imposed a moratorium on issuance of new exploration tenements. This focuses attention on existing tenements. Exploration on many of the existing tenements has stalled because the owners have either exhausted funds or have limited access to exploration skills.

The Annamite team has a great depth of experience working in Laos including discovery of the Phu Kham orebody and financing of the Sepon mine. This experience allows us to identify exploration opportunities in Laos and deal effectively with local joint venture partners and government.