Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district from June 21.
The announcement comes after 14 years of exploration and research by Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd. The company will be the first to commercialise the gold at the Okvau Gold Project.
Reportedly able to produce semi-finished gold alloys containing 90 per cent gold, Renaissance will be in compliance with recognised international standards.
An earlier report outlined an initial Life of Mine (LOM) of eight years, with an average of three tonnes of gold produced each year.
Cambodia expects the project to generate $185 million per annum in pre-tax cashflow, with $40 million from royalties and taxes transferred to the national budget, according to the prime minister.
He noted the untapped potential resting in the gold mining industry, but stressed that investing in the sector requires professionals and advanced technology, as well as long-term commitment, he said in a nod to Renaissance.
“Today’s announcement of the launch of the gold industry is not just an invitation to encourage people to take up gold mining businesses – it is one of the most risky ventures, and requires a lot of capital and specialised skills," Hun Said said.
With the start of the first international small-scale industrial mining business in Cambodia, the Okvau Gold Project will serve as a role model for other would-be miners, and motivate them to comply with sustainable mineral-resource development principles, he claimed.
"The start of operations makes it clear that our past efforts in the mining sector were indeed viable, and we can extract natural resources from underground and reap their benefits for our socio-economic system, with high accountability for the environment and society," he said.
"All mining companies are encouraged to use this model of accountability development at all stages."