Cambodia's two gold producers have pumped out 252 semi-refined gold bars weighing 3,563kg as of the beginning of this month, according to a senior mining official on August 9.
Ministry of Mines and Energy director-general for Mineral Resources Ung Dipola said that Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd, a subsidiary of Australia-listed Emerald Resources NL that operates in Mondulkiri province, has produced 232 dore bars – with 90 per cent gold solution – weighing about 3,543kg, and has paid more than $5.1 million in royalties.
In Preah Vihear province, the “medium-sized” Delcom (Kampuchea) Pte Ltd on August 4 started trial production and has since pumped out 20 semi-refined gold bars weighing a total of around 20kg, Dipola said, adding that the company plans to produce 340kg each year. He estimated that this would mean around $600,000 of royalties per annum.
He revealed that five other companies have been granted gold mining licences.
Acknowledging the issue of disorderly gold mining in Ratanakkiri, Dipola assured that there are no formal gold mining businesses in the northeastern province, although there are three active gold exploration licences – two granted to a subsidiary of Canadian company Angkor Gold Corp and Chinese firm Oriental Wisdom.
Mines ministry secretary of state Ty Norin said that, to strengthen the management and development of the mining sector, his ministry has set up a pre-licensing mechanism that takes key economic, environmental and social considerations into account.
Regarding concerns over disorderly gold mining, he stated: “The ministry has organised four working groups to review and inspect operations involving mineral resources, according to the type of mining business.
“The working groups have cracked down on illegal gold mining activities in Chung Phlas commune of Mondulkiri province; Phnom Chy in Kampong Thom province; and Phnom Long in Preah Vihear province,” Norin added.
Hong Vanak, a researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that Renaissance has witnessed a remarkable increase in gold production, and that royalties have contributed to the country’s economic growth.
He commented that the formal mining business offers labour opportunities in the region. “The government should keep pressing for companies to comply with mining regulations and should continue to licence these types of companies to explore for gold in other areas,” he suggested.
Renaissance’s gold project is located in the Okvau area in the eastern corridor of Chung Phlas commune of southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district. The company began the commercial operation of the project in June 21 last year, and plans to produce an annual average of three tonnes of dore bars.
Cambodia expects the Okvau Gold Project to generate $185 million per annum in pre-tax cashflow, with $40 million from royalties and taxes transferred to the national budget.