Australian-owned Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd has produced 110 dore bars with 90 per cent gold solution weighing a total of about 1,500kg since June 21 at the Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on January 14.
The minister was speaking at a ceremony to hand over the former Ministry of Mines and Energy building to the National Committee for Disaster Management.
Renaissance is a subsidiary of Australia-listed Perth-based Emerald Resources NL. The 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 minister noted that Renaissance began the commercial operation of the project in June 21, and plans to produce an annual average of three tonnes of dore bars.
“The company will expand operations after the first eight years, and the gold exported to refineries such as Singapore and Australia,” Sem said.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath told The Post on January 16 that the project would be an important source of non-tax revenue for the government to build infrastructure and public goods such as hospitals, as well as educational and Covid-related facilities.
During an inspection of the site last month, Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang noted that the project was the island nation’s largest investment in the Kingdom, with a budget of $140 million over 15 years.
He said Renaissance, in collaboration with the environmental and wildlife conservation community, is conducting a number of environmental impact assessments to minimise negative effects from mining operations, and is working with local communities to formulate corporate social responsibility policy.
“It’s a good example of what we hope is the future for Cambodia, where sustainable, environmentally and commercially responsible mining investment according to these calculations, depending on the price of gold provided by the government is at least $30 million a year in royalties and taxes, which leads to Cambodia’s continued development,” Kang said.
“It is a great example of Australian trade operations working here in the Kingdom.”
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.
This year, three Chinese-invested companies are set to start mining gold in Preah Vihear, Kratie and Mondulkiri provinces, and another Indian-invested firm in Ratanakkiri.