Cambodia collected $21 million in non-tax revenue from the mining sector last year, up five per cent from 2018, said a Ministry of Mines and Energy senior official.
Speaking at a press briefing on the ministry’s progress, goal setting and action plans held at the Office of the Council of Ministers, its General Deparment of Mineral Resources director-general Yos Monirath said the government’s policy encouraged people to look into and invest in the sector.
He said the sector not only creates more job opportunities, but also contributes to revenue for national development.
The ministry is currently implementing a number of measures to curtail illegal mining and formalise informal mining to collect additional non-tax revenue, he said.
Monirath defined non-tax revenue as recurring income obtained by the ministry through sources other than taxes such as licensing fees, land leases, royalties and penalties.
Although mining receives lower non-tax revenue compared to other sectors, there is no regulatory framework in place to encourage the export of raw mineral resources, he said. “Investors are forced to build mineral processing plants which add value … to Cambodia’s exports.”
He said Cambodia will soon welcome its first gold processing plant in the Okvau area in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district.
Australian-listed mining firm Emerald Resources NL is developing the Okvau gold project and expects to begin extracting gold this year.
The company released its definitive feasibility study in May 2017 and revealed that the project could produce 106,000oz (3,005kg) of gold per year on average.
It estimated that the mine will initially be active for seven years, with capital investment amounting to A$98 million (US$61 million).
Monirath said: “We hope to be able to produce gold soon here in Cambodia according to plan.”
In 2018, the Kingdom collected $20 million in non-tax revenue from the mining sector, or 133 per cent of the ministry’s target.