Mekong Eye

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  • Path to Responsible Mining


    In an effort to improve the governance of the Kingdom’s mining industry, with a focus on increasing revenue generation, the government has approved 11 articles largely concerning export permits for mined resources.

    “Except for uranium and any reactor [related] mining which is banned from being exported, export permits have to be mainly evaluated for the long-term purpose – based on the comparative advantage and benefit to the economy, society and the environment.”

    Meng Saktheara, secretary of state at the ministry told Khmer Times yesterday that the sub-decree is complementary to the existing mining law which had been promulgated since 2001.

    “This sub-decree is to be used to manage any kinds of mining production except oil and gas. We do hope that the sub-decree sets strong and clear guidelines for the industry that can attract more foreign investors.”

    “It provides us with clear mechanisms to manage the industry, as we will automatically allow exports if the product can be processed locally,” he said, noting the importance of adding value to the country’s mined resources.

    Last month, the Ministry of Mines and Energy issued Cambodia’s first industrial mining license to Indian-owned Mesco Gold (Cambodia) to start operating an underground gold mine in Ratanakiri province.

    According to ministry data, over 20 gold occurrences, 15 base metals occurrences and 26 iron ore and related occurrences have been identified. Work is continuing on some 60 active concessions to further delineate the country’s mineral wealth, with a particular emphasis on gold, base metals and bauxite.

    According to the sub-decree, any mined resource which can be processed locally, and therefore boost its “value-added,” will not be allowed to be exported.

    “It can be allowed to be exported if it cannot be processed locally due to the impact [it may cause] to the environment or because the amount of product exceeds local demand,” it said.

    According to data from ministry, the before-tax revenue from the mining industry has sharply increased. In 2015 the figure was $17.25 million, up from just $4 million the year before.

    Cambodia is at the early stages of mineral resource development. As part of a prospective region with a burgeoning exploration sector, the country has an opportunity to lay the foundations for responsible mining.

  • Environmental destruction is a crime: Vietnamese industry minister


    Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh says pollution is a crime against the environment and calls on all major corporations to commit themselves towards environmental protection during their operations.

    Power plant, coal mine, and mineral mine developers across Vietnam gathered on Thursday afternoon for a meeting to address environmental issues regarding their operations.

  • Jarai Say No to Ratanakiri Gold Mine


    An insurrection led by ethnic Jarai villagers against the Kingdom’s first commercial underground gold mine, to be operated by Indian-owned Mesco Gold (Cambodia), looms over the green, serene remote hamlet of Plung, a few kilometers from the Vietnamese border, in Ratanakiri’s O’Yadaw district.

  • Action Urged Over Illegal Mining


    Rattanakiri provincial authorities were urged by a National Assembly commission yesterday to take swift action against illegal gem mining, which they blamed on infrastructure damage and tax revenue loss.

    Speaking after a meeting with provincial authorities at the provincial hall, opposition member Heng Danaro said the province’s tourism sites were being made increasingly difficult to visit due to road and bridge damage caused by illegal mining operations.

  • What’s the Deal with “Sustainable Banking”?


    Citizens in the Mekong region are increasingly hearing about “sustainable banking,” mostly associated with infrastructure and energy projects. It means regional banks, slow to commit to sustainability, are increasingly considering more responsible ways of doing business.

    Cambodia recently joined Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and 20 other emerging market economies in committing to better environmental and social risk management practices under the International Finance Corporation’s (World Bank Group) Sustainable Banking Network. And just this week, the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) announced an initiative promising to work toward sustainable banking principles for Cambodia, “as ways to mitigate the damage associated with infrastructure, energy and large scale agribusiness projects.”

  • Indian Mining Firm Prepares to Dig Deep in Ratanakkiri


    The Ministry of Mines and Energy is set to issue the country’s first commercial underground mining license to Indian company Mesco Gold in two weeks, despite opposition by residents of two villages concerned about compensation and environmental damage.

    The company plans to break ground on its concession in Ratanakkiri province’s O’yadaw district in about six weeks, said Harsh Sharma, operations director for Mesco Gold, a Cambodia-based subsidiary of New Delhi-based Mesco Steel.

  • Major rivers of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta become unusually deeper


    Vietnamese scientists have warned of the unusual increase in the depth of two major rivers in the Mekong Delta, with sand mining and hydropower dams said to be the cause.

    According to experts, instead of being accreted, the 250-kilometer long Tien (Front) River and 200-kilometer Hau (Back) River have become five to seven meters deeper since 2008.

    The Mekong separates in Phnom Penh into the Tien River, the main northern branch, and the Hau River, the primary southern distributor, after entering Vietnam.


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