Cambodia earned $ 1.3 billion from the export of jewellery and precious stones to the international market in the first six months of this year, a remarkable increase from just over $415 million last year, according to a report from the General Department of Customs and Excise.

The report said the Kingdom shipped 25,563 units of jewellery and precious stones during the period, which weighed a total of 36,803kg.

The total exports last year were worth $415.75 million, equivalent to 19,880kg or 47,071 units.

In the first six months of this year, Cambodia also imported jewellery and precious stones worth around $383.32 million, equivalent to 28,844kg or 640,222 units. In the whole of 2019, the total import value was $149.57 million, equivalent to 57,632kg or 1,043,727 units.

Singapore is Cambodia’s largest export market, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Belgium, Japan, Italy and China. The jewels and precious stones that Cambodia exports include natural pearls or cultured pearls, precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metals, and imitation jewellery and coins.

Thailand, Singapore, Canada, Belgium and Hong Kong are Cambodia’s largest import markets, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.

The owner of a gold shop near the capital’s Central Market who asked not to be named told The Post on Monday that although Cambodia currently has several mining companies in operation, in general, Cambodia imports gold to satisfy domestic demand.

He said the Kingdom’s jewellery exports are ready-made designed products and gems.

“Since most countries have stopped processing jewellery by hand, a lot of pure gold has been imported into Cambodia to be processed and re-exported as a processed product,” he said.

He added that Cambodia’s precious gems have gained popularity and the country hosts an annual jewellery and gem fair.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, told The Post on Monday that the increase in exports and imports of jewellery and precious stones reflects that Cambodia is a country with improved living standards as well as the ability to process and have a wide market. With this growth, he said the number of companies investing in gold and gem-mining is also growing.

“This growth shows that the Cambodian economy is improving as the number of jewellery and gemstone processing companies is increasing accordingly,” he said.

In Cambodia, there are currently a number of diamond processing companies operating to export to foreign markets, Heng said.

Currently, two large gold mining companies are operating in the northeastern part of the country, including India-based gold mining company Mesco Gold.

Mesco Gold has been licensed to operate in Ratanakkiri province in anticipation of refining gold later this year.

Australian-listed Emerald Resources is developing the Okvau gold project in Mondulkiri province and plans to extract gold for the first time in the second quarter of 2021.

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