Local NGO the Natural Resources and Wildlife Preservation Organisation has sent a letter to the Ministry of Mines and Energy accusing the military and local authorities of colluding with a Chinese company to illegally mine for gold in eight illegal mines in Kratie’s Sambor district.
A recent visit uncovered equipment but no activity, said NRWPO president Chea Hean. According to Hean, a worker there said “the armed forces informed them in advance and told them to stop the activities”.
Seung Sophat, an administrator at the ministry, said Hean’s letter had been passed on to the cabinet. An ex-official who asked not to be named said that “generals and senior officials [were] doing illegal business with the Chinese company”.
But Deputy District Governor Thun Savin said the company had a licence to explore the location, though Hean said yesterday the eight sites in question were not in the licensed area.