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

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said

  • More than 5K workers rush from Thailand amid outbreak

    Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province, Cambodian migrants working in Thailand were gripped by worry over the situation and many rushed to return to their homeland. Over the past 10 days, more than 5,000 migrant workers have returned from Thailand through