Cambodia Approves Mine Exploration Licenses to 128 Companies

Totally Cambodian government approved mine exploration licenses to 128 concessions from Australia, the United States, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, France and local companies, according an Extractive Industry Social and Environment Impact (EISEI) Network published on today by Development and Partnership in Action(DAP).

The 128 concessions are located in 18 provinces out of the country’s 24 provinces, covering more than 24,000 square kilometers, or approximately 13 percent of Cambodia’s total land area of 181,035 square kilometers, the report said.

Mam Sambath, Executive Director of DAP said there are no information about the exploitation licenses yet, but among them we hear two got extractive testing licenses. One of the two could be one concession that there were 8 workers died in the mines well in Kratie this month.

“However there are not exploitation licenses, but the incident in mines well in Kratie is a good lesson and experience for Cambodia before approving”, he said.

Mam Sambath also encourage the mine exploration companies to conduct environment impact assessment (EIA) in order to avoid the damage and impact to natural resource, ecology, environment as well as the socio- economic and cultural impact to the people.

Among the 128 companies there are a few companies has conducts EIA, including Cheveron, a U.S based company also not yet show the result the EIA, however this company is exploring oil and gas in block A and plan to extract in December 2012.

Danh Serei, Deputy Director of EIA Department, Ministry of Environment said there are only 10 mines, oil and gas projects has submitted the EIA report to the Ministry, therefore ministry is writing a draft law on EIA in order to force all the development project to conduct EIA.

All development projects, especially mines, oil and gas projects are the fragile project that can make a lot of environmental and socio-economic impact, he said.



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