Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem announced that Cambodia has refined 6,727 kilogrammes of gold dore bars and collected royalties of more than $10 million, as of the beginning of June this year.

The minister made the announcement during a June 10 visit to a gold mine site in Okvau area in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district. The visit was also attended by Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, provincial authorities and representatives of Australian mining company Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd.

According to the ministry, the Okvau gold mine, in Chung Phlas commune, underwent 14 years of environmental impact assessments and exploration digs before its operations in 2021. The mine employs 434 people, including 347 Cambodians and 87 foreigners.

“Since its official launch, Renaissance Minerals have smelted 6,727.70kg of 90 per cent pure ‘dore bars’. The company has paid a total of $10,228,239 in royalties to the government,” said Suy Sem.

The construction of the mines and their infrastructure began in mid-2020, with a total investment of about $120 million.

Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary of state Vongsey Vissoth said in late January that due to the fact that gold mining is a new industry for Cambodia, private companies had undertaken most of the exploratory work, meaning tax revenues and royalties from this resource remained limited.

Hong Vannak, an economist at the Institute of International Relations at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on June 11 that the Kingdom is lucky to be home to accessible gold deposits, although he noted that the amount refined was not as abundant as those in some other nations, like India.

He added that regardless of the amount that was produced, it was still making a worthwhile contribution to the national economy.