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Firm asked to pay fine for illegal mining exploration in Kampong Speu

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Kampong Speu provincial authorities on Friday arrested five individuals suspected of illegally mining marble at Kbal Damrey village in Oral district’s Trapaing Chor commune. Supplied

Firm asked to pay fine for illegal mining exploration in Kampong Speu

Kampong Speu provincial authorities will once again allow Sok Chanly Co Ltd to mine marble in Oral district’s Trapaing Chor commune if the company pays a fine of 50 million riel ($12,500) after the authorities earlier detained five individuals who were caught mining without a permit.

The detained individuals – three Cambodian nationals and two Vietnamese nationals – were arrested by Kampong Speu provincial authorities on Friday for illegally mining marble.

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said the company was legally authorised to be in the area.

However, according to the original agreement, the company was only allowed to conduct research on said site and should have asked for an official permit if they wanted to conduct business in the area.

“I want to stress that the company is legally authorised to be in the area but conducted an unauthorised activity. We must fine 500,000 riel per individual for each day of unauthorised mining.

The company had carried out the activity for 10 days without permission from the local authorities,” he said.

Kampong Speu provincial Department of Environment deputy director Nov Nak said that the company’s activities will be temporarily suspended until the fine is paid.

He added that after paying, the company would need to ask for permission from the Department of Mines and Energy to get a business permit and avoid penalties.

Natural Resources and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean, who discovered the six drilling locations, said on Tuesday that Sok Chanly Co Ltd had only the patent to pay tax at the Ministry of Economy and Finance but had no letter related to the drilling business.

Hean said that by law, the company was required to ask for authorisation from the specialist department or institution, as well as the local authority, before conducting any business.

“I found that Sok Chanly Co Ltd had carried out mining activities in Kampong Chhang, Kratie, Mondulkiri, and Ratanakkiri provinces and some other areas. But I don’t know whether or not the company asked for permission as in the above case.

“I will prepare a letter addressed to the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to inspect the locations where the company had carried out the activities to check the company properly,” he stressed.

Neither Ministry of Mines and Energy secretary of state Ho Vichet nor Yos Monirath, director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Mineral Resources, could be reached for comment.

A representative of Sok Chanly Co Ltd could not be reached for comment either.

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