Four mining zones in Cambodia have been opened up for local and foreign companies to invest in, as two existing mine zones move towards operation.
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The Energy Ministry has called for local and oversea companies registered in Cambodia to apply for licences to invest in the mining sector in five provinces.
There are zones in Kep, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap provinces. The other zone overlaps the provinces of Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey.
The ministry said the new mine zones covered approximately 455 square kilometres.
Yos Monirath, director-general of the ministry’s mine department, said the ministry had received interest from several companies since the announcement.
“We invite investment companies to apply for licences so that they can conduct feasibility studies into projects. If they find potential from the study result, they will then invest,” Mr Monirath said.
“We don’t know what specific mines could be in each location, but we predict that the places may have potential for mines.”
Currently, there are mining projects in Ratanakkiri and Modulkiri provinces. The Ratanakkiri mine project is about to start operating soon, while the one in Mondulkiri is at the stage of conducting an environment impact assessment, the ministry says.
Mr Monirath said he expected that about ten mine zones would be available for investment this year.
Foreign direct investment in the extractive industry, including some projects expected to be approved before the end of the year, now equals $1.3 billion, making it one of the most valuable economic sectors in the kingdom, the ministry says.
Since the ministry was established in 2013, non-tax revenue has increased tenfold, reaching $18 million a year in 2016, data from the ministry shows.