Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mining exploration set for region home to endangered river dolphins

Mining exploration set for region home to endangered river dolphins

A newborn baby Irrawaddy dolphin swims in the Mekong River in Kratie province in June. WWF-Cambodia
A newborn baby Irrawaddy dolphin swims in the Mekong River in Kratie province in June. WWF-Cambodia

Mining exploration set for region home to endangered river dolphins

Australian mining firm Medusa Mining has announced plans to begin exploration for gold, copper and oil in Kratie province’s Prek Kampi commune, about 35 kilometres west of a stretch of the Mekong River that is home to endangered river dolphins.

Medusa Mining signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sea Resources, which was granted exclusive exploration rights in Prek Kampi by the Ministry of Mines and Energy in June last year. The Prek Kampi region is home to the endangered Irrawaddy River Dolphin, of which about 80 remain in the Mekong River.

Boyd Timler, CEO of Medusa Mining, said yesterday that the exploration itself would be relatively harmless, and the project would be unlikely to affect the dolphins.

“We are aware that the dolphins are in that area of the river,” he said.

“Any water [near the mine] is small little streams . . . it’s nowhere near the river.”

Timler added that Sea Resources was handling the day-to-day operations of the exploration, including hiring a firm to conduct an environmental impact assessment and community engagement report.

A press release by Medusa Mining said the company would stand to earn a 70 percent stake in the project after contributing up to $3 million for exploration over a period of 4 years. The earn-in agreement is scheduled to be finalised March 1.

Un Chakrey, communications manager for World Wildlife Fund, which has spearheaded the campaign to protect the dolphins, said his organisation was lacking details about the project’s size and exact location, and declined to comment on the exploration agreement.

“We don’t have any information on whether or not [the land where the mining may take place] is protected,” he said. “I think [Medusa Mining] just started an environmental impact study.”

Negative environmental impacts of mining can include erosion, contamination of soil and groundwater, loss of biodiversity and far-reaching impacts on river networks.

Spokesmen for the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Mines and Energy declined requests for interviews yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to

  • Angkor Beer strengthens national pride with golden new look and fresher taste

    Angkor Beer – the "Gold of Angkor" – has a new look, one that is more stylish and carries a premium appeal, as well as a fresher taste and smoother flavour, making it the perfect choice for any gathering. Angkor Beer recently launched its new design, one