Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First large-scale gold project in the Kingdom in early 2020

First large-scale gold project in the Kingdom in early 2020

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Emerald Resources will start their first large-scale gold project in Cambodia in early 2020. Ananth Baliga

First large-scale gold project in the Kingdom in early 2020

Emerald Resources, the Australian-listed mining firm behind Cambodia’s Okvau gold project in Mondulkiri province, will start its first large-scale gold project in the Kingdom in early 2020.

Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman Yos Monirath who said this, added that the firm obtained an industrial mining licence in July and actively raised funding to develop the project.

Emerald Resources, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), said in an ASX filling last Thursday that it has raised A$27 million ($19.5 million) to fund development activities at its Okvau operations.

Monirath said on Sunday that Emerald Resources received an industrial mining licence in July. The firm is actively raising funding to develop its production infrastructure, and that it will presumably extract its first gold nuggets in early 2020.

Revenue for the government

He said the project would provide jobs, generate economic activities and revenue for the government. “We will earn revenue from royalties, taxes, and rental fees from the land needed for this project,” he said.

Emerald Resources, Monirath said, is the first large-scale company to obtain an industrial mining licence from the ministry. So far, he said the ministry had provided 50 exploring licenses for mining.

The company released its definitive feasibility study (DFS) in May last year and revealed that the Okvau gold project could produce 106,000 ounces of gold a year on average.

It estimated that the mine will initially be active for seven years, while capital investment amounted to $98 million.

Emerald’s managing director Morgan Hart said in the filling that the A$27 million funding will be used to start development activities at Okvau, repay unsecured loans, and finance ongoing working capital requirements and costs of the placement.

“We are delighted with the support received from our current and new institutional shareholders.

“The support demonstrates the robust nature of the Okvau gold project and the support for the company’s strategy of becoming the first modern large-scale Cambodian gold producer,” he said.

Transparency International (Cambodia) senior programme director Pech Pisey said on Sunday it is a good move for Cambodia to have a gold producing company as it will help to boost the government’s revenue.

‘Avoiding corruption’

However, he said ensuring transparency in managing revenue from gold mining is very important and the public had raised concerns on the issue since the ministry had not released sufficient information about the project’s potential.

Because there is insufficient information, observers have to rely on announcements from the firms, especially the ones listed at the stock exchange abroad, according to Pisey.

“We urge the government to ensure that the companies will reveal actual revenues regardless if it is a gold mining business and an oil extraction,” he said.

He said a mechanism to follow up the actual development of the company is needed.

“The ministry itself should need to monitor its own financial management system to avoid any corruption when collecting revenue from the firm,” he said.

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