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Gov’t briefly suspends extractive firms’ work

The Ministry of Mines and Energy this week suspended the licence of four companies – three open-pit operations in Kandal and a sand-dredging operation in Prey Veng – for one week for not complying with regulations.

Dith Tina, secretary of state for the ministry, said the licences were suspended on Tuesday and yesterday. Tina, who wasn’t able to provide the names for the companies in Kandal, said the companies’ trucks were found to be not properly covered as required under the Traffic Law, and as a result, the ministry issued an administrative punishment.

The sand-dredging company – Kong Kim Sroeun Company – was found to be dredging outside its boundaries because the buoys marking its area had drifted away, Tina said.

If the companies are still not complying after the suspension, the ministry will suspend the licences for another week. ‘”We are very committed to tackle the issue of those who don’t comply with regulations,” he said.

Kong Kim Sroeun, owner of the sand-dredging company, said he understood his mistake, but it wasn’t intentional.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights this month issued a briefing on the human rights impacts of sand dredging, recommending the government immediately place a moratorium on issuing new licences until further research on the long-term impacts is conducted.

“We hope that the government will receive the information and will take intervention” action, said CCHR’s Vann Sophath. Tina said he couldn’t comment on the report because he hadn’t read it yet.

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