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$9M jewellery plant okayed as gold output rises

A student rides into the industrial park since renamed to the Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.
A student rides into the industrial park since renamed to the Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. Hong Menea

$9M jewellery plant okayed as gold output rises

Metal Jewelry (Cambodia) Co Ltd plans to invest $9 million in a jewellery factory within the Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone just south west of the capital’s airport, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), as domestic gold production rolls on.

In a notice late last month, the CDC announced that it had approved a final registration certificate for the proposed factory in the 357.3-hectare industrial park, which it said will produce and assemble jewellery and other accessories made of metal and plastic. The notice revealed that the project is expected to create 434 jobs.

The Ministry of Commerce’s business registry lists postal registered office addresses in the French capital of Paris for officers of Metal Jewelry Cambodia, “Eric, Olivier Atton”, “Jacques, Marie, Daniel Chenain”, and “Bruno, Andre, Jean Pavlovsky”, and another in Thailand’s Lamphun province for “Nicolas Scheecqmans” – the most senior-ranked of the group. The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) identifies Scheecqmans as the firm’s managing director, and Timothe Delhaise and Camille Davoust as Cambodia plant director and finance director, respectively.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng commented to The Post on July 3 that the Kingdom has been drawing a range of non-garment investment projects, which he said tend to bring new technologies and skills.

“It is wonderful news for our nation that a jewellery plant has sprung up, a non-garment venture. We’ve recently attracted a number of new investments, including those in vehicle assembly or the processing of tyres, jewellery or agricultural goods, all of which considerably contribute to economic growth.

“The arrival of the jewellery plant demonstrates investor confidence in the country’s stability and peace,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s largest official gold producer, Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd, has pumped out 6,727.70kg of dore bars – a semi-finished product that is smelted at a mine, usually at about 90 per cent purity – between June 21, 2021, when the first commercial gold pour took place, and the beginning of this month, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The mines ministry lauded the figure, stating that Kingdom’s recently-acquired status as a gold producer “has brought a stream of foreign investment to Cambodia, created employment opportunities, increased local industry diversity and provided numerous other socio-economic benefits”.

In a late-2022 interview with The Post, ministry director-general for mineral resources Ung Dipola confirmed that there were only four active gold mining licences, although a few additional ones were out there for exploration.

The other three official gold producers are Delcom (Kampuchea) Pte Ltd and Xinshan Industrial (Cambodia) Co Ltd, with operations in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district, and Xing Yuan Kanng Yeak Co Ltd, active in Kratie province’s Sambor district. The commerce ministry’s business registry lists addresses in mainland China for officers of all three of these companies.

Renaissance ships its dore bars abroad to refine to 99.99 per cent purity, while the other three firms carry out the process locally, Dipola noted.

At a public forum on macroeconomic management and the 2023 budget law in January, officials reported that a total of seven companies currently have active gold exploration licences, all of which are in the four provinces of Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Battambang and Preah Vihear.

Recent reports confirm that the Australian gold miner accounts for the vast majority of the gold produced in Cambodia.

Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on November 30 noted that Renaissance made up for 95.3 per cent at the time – in terms of dore-bar weight – followed by Delcom Kampuchea (3.3%) and Xinshan Industrial Cambodia (0.9%), with the remainder put out by Xing Yuan Kanng Yeak.

According to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Kingdom expects Renaissance’s Okvau Gold Project to generate $185 million per annum in pre-tax cash flow, with $40 million from royalties and taxes going to the government.


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