The Ministry of Mines and Energy is set to review applications soon for rights to four coal mining concession areas – totalling 794sq km – it opened late in March in the Kingdom’s north.
“Interested national and international companies can apply for a mining licence at the General Department of Mineral Resources,” it said in a press release, adding that it will make a public announcement naming the winning company once the process is completed.
General Department of Mineral Resources director-general Yos Monirath told The Post on Monday that the ministry saw the areas’ potential for exploitable minerals resources.
“We noted the presence of coal deposits in the area, and we call on interested companies to apply for a mining licence,” said Monirath.
He said the ministry previously granted a licence to a private company for one of the areas – a 200sq km site in the Trapaing Tiem area in Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat districts.
The company did not discover mineral resources and the ministry decided not to renew its licence, he said.
However, he said, by reopening the mining concession area, the ministry aims to give another business the opportunity to be profitable.
“We reopened the coal mining concession area for private companies to invest in research because the area is zoned for mining extraction to supply coal-fired power plants that the government has decided to construct nearby,” he said.
Another area is the 194sq km site in the Tumnop Dach area which straddles across Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district and Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district.
The remaining areas are 200sq km each and are located in Mondulkiri province’s Pech Chreada district.
Monirath said: “So far, the ministry has received four of five applications for mining licences in the four concession areas. The ministry will hold a review meeting the applications next week.”
He said the ministry has issued 40 metal exploration licences throughout Cambodia.
Australian-listed mining firm Emerald Resources NL is currently developing the Okvau gold project in Mondulkiri province and expects to begin extracting gold this year.
“We estimate that the project will be able to refine one million ounces of gold,” Monirath said late last month.
“The ministry will continue to promote additional gold exploration licences in the area around the Okvau project and increase its business.”