The Ministry of Mines and Energy has granted a mining license to Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia), a subsidiary of Australia-based Emerald Resources NL, to extract gold in Mondulkiri province.
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The recently granted license covers 11.5 square kilometres at the Okvau gold project, in Mondulkiri’s Mondul Seima district, about 275 kilometres northeast of the capital.
It was approved after the company completed its environment impact assessment (EIA), according to Yos Monirath, the ministry’s director-general for mines.
“The firm is now preparing the facilities in the area, after having received the license,” Mr Monirath said.
“The original plan was to extract gold by late 2019, but because the EIA took longer than expected, we are now aiming to extract the first ounce by 2020,” he said.
Morgan Hart, managing director of Emerald Resources NL, said: “We are excited by the granting of the mining license.
“It is a significant achievement on the path forward to the development of the Okvau gold project later this year and in transitioning into a 100,000 ounce, or more, per annum gold producer.”
He added that the Okvau gold project has received strong endorsement from Prime Minister Hun Sen and the government.
The license covers 15 years. During the first two years, the company will prepare the facilities and equipment at the mining site. The next 8 to 9 years will be dedicated to mining operations, with the remaining years used to ‘rehabilitate’ the area, Mr Monirath explained.
There is one more mining project in Mondulkiri province, of smaller size, but work on it has been temporarily suspended following a government crackdown on illegal mining activities in the area, he said.
In 2016, Indian mining firm Mesco Gold was granted the first commercial mining license in the Kingdom for Ratanakkiri’s Phum Syarung gold mine. The company is expected to draw its first ounce of gold before the end of the year, according to Mr Monirath.
The ministry has so far issued more than 50 exploration licenses and 20 mining licenses.