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Cambodia grants mine exploratory licenses to 24 firms in 2011: gov’t report

PHNOM PENH, March 9 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy had issued mineral resource exploratory licenses to 24 local and foreign companies in the past year.

According to the annual report of the ministry’s mineral resources department released on Friday, the firms are mostly Cambodian-owned ones and those from China and Vietnam.

They have been exploring mineral resources including gold ore in provinces of Kratie, Ratanakiri, metallic ore and bauxite in Mondolkiri, Koh Kong and Stung Treng, lime mineral resources in Kampot, and coal mine in Kampong Thom, it said.

Speaking on Friday during the annual mineral resources conference, Suy Sem, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, advised his officials to work closely with those companies to ensure that their exploratory activities have been properly conducted in accordance to the laws.

“The development of mineral resources sector is one of the government’s priorities. To attract investors, it is vital to strengthen partnership with investors and to strengthen the implementation of laws and agreements,” he said.

Cambodia is believed to be rich in metallic mineral, gold ore, bauxites, titanium, copper, and offshore oil and gas. To date, all mining activities here are in the process of exploration, not yet exploitation.

According to the record of the NGO-Extractive Industry Social and Environment Impact (EISEI) Network released last December, Cambodia had granted mining concessional licenses to a total of 128 local and foreign entities to conduct mineral exploration.

All the firms have been exploring mineral resources in 18 provinces out of the country’s 24 cities and provinces, covering more than 24,000 square kilometers, or approximately 13 percent of Cambodia’s total land area of 181,035 square kilometers.

The investors in those projects come from Australia, the United States, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, France besides Cambodia.

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