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Mu Sochua calls out Aussie mining firms

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Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua has taken aim at Australian mining companies eyeing the Kingdom’s resources, travelling to their home soil to lobby the halls of power.

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Mu Sochua cited fears that Australian companies awarded exploration concessions in Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces will treat ethnic minorities there with the same disregard they had shown to their own country’s indigenous groups.

“I cannot be in Australia and not speak about mining companies that are part of the devastation of Mondulkiri,” she said in an email yesterday.

Australian mining firms Liberty Mining International and Indochine Mining Limited hold hundreds of thousands of hectares of exploration concessions in Ratanakkiri.

Another Australian firm, Southern Gold, has been granted similarly large concessions in Moldulkiri, Kratie and Ratanakkiri.

Richard Stanger, managing director of Liberty Mining International and president of the Cambodian Association for Mining and Exploration Companies, said Australian mining should be the last industry that Mu Sochua should be accusing of malfeasance.

“I can categorically say that no one has been displaced for exploration in Cambodia …particularly Australian companies. We are doing things to world class standards as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

“I’m far more concerned in the high incidents of illegal logging that has decimated the forests in Modulkiri and Ratanakkiri, so perhaps she should focus on that.”

He also emphasised that no Australian mining company had actually begun “exploiting anything” and said if they did, only a tiny fraction of the total exploration concession would be utilised.  

Mu Sochua is set to meet Australian Greens Senator and Vice President Sarah Hanson-Young on Wednesday.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Boyle at david.boyle@phnompenhpost.com

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