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Gold mining to begin next year: Ministry

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
A miner goes down a shaft in Ratanakkiri province, in the country’s northeast. KT/Mai Vireak

Renaissance Minerals, a subsidiary of Australia-listed Emerald Resources, is expected to begin extracting gold in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province next year, according to a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The company is now building the infrastructure needed to begin mining, said Yos Monirath, director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Mineral Resources.

“If things go as planned, we could start producing gold in early 2020. But if there are heavy rains or floods, production will likely begin later in the year,” he explained.

In July last year, the government granted the firm an Industrial Mining Licence covering 11.5 square kilometres at the Okvau gold project, in Mondulkiri’s Mondul Seima district. The licence has a validity of 15 years and can be renewed for 10 more years up to two times in accordance with Cambodian law.

In a quarterly report issued recently, Emerald Resources said it has successfully completed the resettlement of 62 local families as well as site works to remove abandoned structures away from the mining area.

The company also said it has completed the installation of a security fence around the development area, ensuring the safety of personnel, visitors and wildlife.

Construction of a 35-tonne bridge across the Prek Te River, upgrades to an existing rural road and the construction of a new section of planned road have commenced which will allow all-year continuous access to the site, it said.

In June, Emerald announced it had entered into an investment committee approved term sheet with Sprott to provide a $60 million facility to be used to finance the Okvau gold project. A facility of up to $100 million known as ‘acquisition and development facility’ will also be provided to fund future development and acquisition opportunities identified by Emerald and agreed with Sprott.

Sprott is a global asset manager providing investors with access to highly-differentiated precious metals and real assets investment strategies.

“The government has created an appropriate investment environment to attract foreign companies, particularly in the mining industry,” Emerald said in its quarterly report, noting that Cambodia is supportive of foreign investment in mining and exploration to help realise the country’s potential.

Meng Saktheara, secretary of state at the ministry, told Khmer Times recently that 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.

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