Excavation work at two sites in Siem Reap province has been halted, with the owners now facing hefty punishments for digging the land illegally.
On Wednesday, officials from Siem Reap’s provincial Department of Mines and Energy, the provincial Economic Police, and the district’s Unit Command intervened to stop the excavation work at two sites in Prasat Bakong district after learning that the owners lacked licences to carry out such work.
Prasat Bakong district governor Sou Platong told The Post last week that a total of 10 heavy-duty vehicles (excavators and trucks) were being used at the sites.
Workers in the first site were digging out a rice field measuring 30m by 60m and 0.40m deep. The second site was 30m by 50m and also 0.40m deep.
“The machinery is being kept at the district hall until further legal action is taken,” Platong said.
Meas Chourany, the director of Siem Reap’s provincial Department of Mines and Energy, told The Post that the owners of the sites have been ordered to secure the necessary permits as prescribed by the law before resuming excavation work.
“The owners have also been given a fine according to Article 35 of the Law on Management and Exploitation of Mineral Resources,” Chourany said.
As per Article 35, the owners will have to pay a fee equal to double the value of the minerals present in the land that was being excavated.
They will also be liable to a 1.5 million riel ($375) fine per day beginning on the day excavation work started until it ceased.
If the owners continue excavating the sites without a permit, they could be sentenced to one to five years in jail and their equipment could be confiscated.