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Ministry approves mining in four provinces

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:

The Ministry of Mines and Energy is inviting companies to bid for metal mining concessions in four provinces.
The sites earmarked cover 525 square kilometres in Kampong Thom, Kampot, Kratie and Mondulkiri provinces.
Energy Minister Suy Sem said local and foreign firms registered in Cambodia had until May 30 to apply for the concessions for mining metals such as gold and copper.  
Ministry spokesman Meng Sakthera said: “The concessions will grant six-year licences for metal exploration.”
These licences could be extended if the firms followed government rules.
Mr Sakthera said this was the first time the ministry had announced plans to grant mining concessions
“This is to ensure transparency and minimise the impact on the areas involved,” he said.
Villagers affected by the concessions will be able to take up any issues with the ministry.
“We have already excluded areas where there would be a serious environmental impact,” he added
The first site covers 74sqkm in Kratie’s Snoul district and Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima district.
The second stretches over 94sqkm in Kratie’s Sambor district and Kampong Thom’s Sandan district
The third area is 159sqkm in Chhuok district, Kampot province, and the fourth covers 199sqkm in Kratie’s Sambou district and Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima district.
Mr Sem said the results of the concessions would be announced on June 15.
Em Sopheak, programme officer at the Community Legal Education Centre, said some of the proposed mines would be in protected forest and wildlife sanctuary areas of Mondulkiri.
“It will affect endangered animals and forests,” Mr Sopheak said.
“Government should consider the environmental impact and the threat to the culture of the ethnic minorities who live in the forest.”
Keo Sopheak, director of Mondulkiri’s environment department, said companies must conduct environmental impact assessments before any mining can take place.
“It is good thing if companies are given the legal right to mine, because that also brings a duty to reduce the environmental impact,” he said.
He added that locals were involved in small-scale illegal mining, which harmed the environment.
“These people don’t have the responsibility for minimising environmental damage,” he said.

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