The Ministry of Mines and Energy announced public bidding for mine exploration, calling on local and foreign companies to apply. The move is made as the first commercial gold mine extraction is scheduled this year.
In the announcement dated Jan 10, the ministry said that the mine exploration concessional area covers cumulatively 1,390 square kilometres (sq km) in the provinces of Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Mondulkiri.
The local and international companies interested are being asked to apply to join in the bidding until Feb 15, the statement read. The announcement of the companies that win licences will be made public as soon as possible afterwards.
Yos Monirath, director general of Mines at Ministry of Mines and Energy, said on yesterday that mine exploration licenses are for exploring all kind of metal-related mine sources but gold is the most popular, Monirath said.
Currently, there are about 30 companies, the majority foreign, that have been given exploration licences in Cambodia, Monirath said, adding that a few of them have already found the potential for investment after initial explorations.
Once a company finds scope, such as a gold seam, it will then be required to undergo the conduction of an environment impact assessment, he said.
Gold is refined with highly poisonous mercury so this is an element that will be considered.
The Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia), a subsidiary of Emerald Resources NL, received an Industrial Mining Licence in 2018 and is scheduled to start mining gold in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district soon.
Another gold mine company, Angkor Gold, located in Rattanakiri province, is likely to be the second company to start gold mining in the country because the company has completed many steps of the regulatory process.