The Ministry of Mines and Energy yesterday said two mining firms will begin producing gold in upcoming months.
Peng Navuth, under-secretary of state at the ministry, said Indian-owned Mesco Gold will begin extracting this year, while Australia’s Renaissance Minerals is likely to begin in 2020.
Mr Navuth was speaking at the 7th Extractive Industries Governance Forum, held yesterday at Phnom Penh’s Sunway Hotel.
In 2016, Mesco Gold (Cambodia) was granted the first commercial mining license in the Kingdom for Ratanakkiri’s Phum Syarung gold mine.
Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia), a subsidiary of Emerald Resources NL, was granted a mining license in 2018 covering 11.5 square kilometres at the Okvau gold project, in Mondulkiri’s Mondul Seima district.
Mr Navuth could not provide an estimate of how much gold will be extracted by each firm.
Meng Saktheara, secretary of state of the ministry, said Cambodia will become much more attractive to investors once it establishes gold mining and oil extraction operations.
“Once we start producing gold and crude oil, more international companies will want to invest in our mining sector,” Mr Saktheara said.
John-Paul Dau, Angkor Gold president, said his company will start producing gold in the next five years.
Angkor Gold holds five exploration licenses, four in Ratanakkiri and one in Mondulkiri, he said.
The company, which entered the country a decade ago, has spent five years exploring offshore oil and gas projects.
“It is an exciting time. You got major projects in Cambodia that are ready to go into the production stage in the next couple of years, which is going to drive tax revenue and exports,” Mr Dau said.
“For the natural resources sector, it is an exciting time. It has been a long journey, but Cambodia is now becoming a mining country,” he told reporters.
The ministry has issued more than 50 exploration licenses and 20 mining licenses.