Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chance find prompts small-scale gold rush in Takeo

Chance find prompts small-scale gold rush in Takeo

People dig up a rice paddy in search of gold yesterday in Takeo province after a villager found a nugget of gold. Photo supplied
People dig up a rice paddy in search of gold yesterday in Takeo province after a villager found a nugget of gold. Photo supplied

Chance find prompts small-scale gold rush in Takeo

Residents in Takeo province’s Angkor village have flocked to look for gold in a rice field behind the village after a villager tending cows found a gold bead, though authorities have cautioned against the gold rush, saying the area has archaeological significance.

Nob Dol, chief of Prek Phtorl commune, said a mass of villagers rushed to search for gold after the villager found the bead near a dike on his way home on Thursday.

“As I’ve heard, about seven people were lucky to find small beads of gold; some small, some big,” he said. “Some said they found up to [150 grams] of gold. There was also news that some found gold worth $1,000 to $2,000, but I did not see that.”

Officials from the provincial department of culture and fine arts went to the site and asked people to stop digging the field, Dol said. The owner of the rice field also sought help from authorities to halt the digging.

Phan Kheang, chief of administration for Angkor Borei district’s cultural office, said provincial officials already explained the Law on the Protection of National Heritage to the villagers, and they stopped digging.

“When the information spread, people went to dig the field,” he said. “But after the explanation from officials today, they stopped and the rice field owner pumped water” into the field.

The site is about 100 metres away from the gate of an ancient Angkorian site, Angkor Borei, and is about 2 kilometres away from Phnom Da mountain, where an ancient temple is located, according to local officials.

Meng Saktheara, spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Engergy, said he wasn’t surprised to hear that villagers were rushing to find gold in that area. He said there was a similar story 10 to 15 years ago, when people found artefacts and confused them for gold.

He said the area is a historical archeological site.On the mountain, there are prospects for a mineral that has similar characteristics to gold, he added, but is not in fact the precious metal.

If people were digging in the village, it’s more likely to be an artefact, Saktheara said. Still, he added, the ministry needs to go inspect.

“Sometimes it’s just speculation,” he added.

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’