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Authorities shut down illegal M’kiri mine site

Authorities shut down illegal M’kiri mine site

An illegal gold mine allegedly managed by a military police commander in Mondulkiri province was shut down by a local prosecutor last week after being in operation for more than two decades, officials said.

The Friday crackdown on the Keo Seima district mine, which was reportedly run jointly by the commander, three Chinese nationals and a local official, came amid a nationwide audit of illegal mining operations.

Nhem Vanthy, provincial police chief, said the illegal mining group had two sites in the district, one of which was shut down last week.

San Sarith, director of the provincial Department of Mines and Energy, said the three Chinese managers had been interrogated along with two other workers, but were not arrested.

“Those Chinese people are involved in the gold mining because they have shares with the Cambodian. They are running the business together,” Darith said.

Vanthy, the police chief, declined to name the Chinese men or military policeman accused of overseeing the mine that was shut down on Friday.

Sak Sarang, provincial military police commander, denied that any of his officers were involved in illegal gold mining.

In March, Mining Ministry Secretary of State Meng Saktheara said in an interview that the ministry, backed up by a detachment of military police, would take action against the mine owners.

“It’s the same place. These people are not part of the community,” he said yesterday.

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