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Excavation worries

Workers excavate marble from a quarry owned by Capital Mineral Resort Investment in Stung Treng province this week
Workers excavate marble from a quarry owned by Capital Mineral Resort Investment in Stung Treng province this week, where villagers have had parts of their farmland cleared. ADHOC

Excavation worries

Twenty families living in Stung Treng province’s Thala Barivat district have recently filed complaints to authorities demanding compensation from a Chinese firm, which allegedly plans to excavate their farmlands in search of marble.

The villagers from the Chamkar Leu commune sent a total of seven complaints since Saturday against the Chinese-owned Capital Mineral Resort Investment.

“They are demanding some compensation from the company, which plans to clear their lands to find marble stones,” Adhoc’s Strung Treng coordinator Hou Sam Ol said. “This will affect their farmlands and they are concerned about eviction.”

According to co-owner Lim Ty, his company was given permission by the Ministry of Mines and Energy last October to dig 3,097 hectares of land at the commune.

Ty along with provincial authorities visited the site on Tuesday, but said they only found three families living at the farmlands. He added that they will revisit the area before the end of the week to confirm whether the 20 families have ownership rights.

“I’m not clear why the people are saying there are 20 families but we will go back there to check,” Ty said.

Farm owner Chan Buntha said they are not opposing the excavation as long as they receive proper compensation.

“We’re not refusing the government’s permission to give licence to the company, but we need to make sure that we are getting some payment because it will affect our livelihood.”

So far, the company has only set its sight on excavating a portion of its total allotted land, but Buntha said villagers are worried that more of them will be affected once the company expands its search for marble.

“After we inspect this week, we will give the families a reply . . . and we will make sure that they are properly reimbursed,” Ty said.

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