AUSTRALIAN mining company Southern Gold has begun a three-year gold and base metals drilling program at its three concessions in Cambodia. The US$4.5 million project is funded by the Japanese government through JOGMEC, a Japanese body tasked with securing stable supplies of natural resources. Two of the properties are in Kratie and one is near Snuol, northeast of Phnom Penh. The Japanese would receive a 51-percent stake in the company, according to a Southern Gold statement. The stock is trading at AU$0.072 on the Australian Stock Exchange.