KNPG Investment Co Ltd obtained a licence to mine silica sand in Koh Kong province’s southwest, at a site previously operated by Sibelco (Cambodia) Co Ltd.
Deputy provincial governor Ouk Pheaktra led a virtual meeting on May 13 to discuss with company representatives the results of KNPG Investment’s full environmental and social impact assessment process for the project in Kiri Sakor district’s Prek Khsach commune.
He told The Post that there wouldn’t be much of a project-related impact, noting that the site is an existing venture.
However, he said, the provincial administration ordered the company to conduct a technical study on transport infrastructure, as well as wastewater and solid waste management.
“We would like to address impacts and compensation – if the implementation of this project affects property or land ownership, or people’s livelihoods – to improve the living standards of locals, through the recruitment of workers or staff from the vicinity of the project.
“We also want to take care of the environment, natural resources and biodiversity in and near the project site, and all construction and work at the company’s white-sand mining business must comply with the guidelines set by the Royal Government, the Ministry of Environment and regulations as permitted for the company by the licence,” he said.
The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) in April last year approved KNPG Investment’s proposal for a $6 million silica-sand processing plant to be located in Koh Kong Special Economic Zone in Kiri Sakor’s Prek Sandor commune.
Ministry of Mines and Energy director-general for Mineral Resources Yos Monirath told The Post on May 16 that the ministry greenlit the licence, and that the company is preparing to build a glass manufacturing plant.
He said: “In this business, we do not allow white sand to be exported, we want it to be processed locally into finished products as planned. They set up a glass factory. Its establishment will help to increase value-added rather than exporting raw materials, and it will also create some more local jobs.”
On January 5, the ministry announced a public auction to award licences to mine and process sand at seven locations covering over 2,000ha in Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
The three locations in Koh Kong cover 1,455ha – the 109ha and 882ha sites are in Botum Sakor district, while another 464ha plot is in Sre Ambel district, the ministry said in a notice.
The four locations in Preah Sihanouk cover 668.2ha – the 318.70ha and 81.50ha sites are in Stung Hav district, while the 60ha and 228ha plots are in Prey Nop district.
The ministry has issued more than 100 licences for sand businesses nationwide. In 2019, Cambodia collected about $21 million in non-tax revenue from the mining sector, gaining five per cent over the $20 million posted in 2018, according to Monirath.