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Illegal mining halted on Chinese ELC in Preah Vihear

A man shovels sediment into a pile after it has passed through a sluice at a gold field in Rovieng district earlier this year.
A man shovels sediment into a pile after it has passed through a sluice at a gold field in Rovieng district earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Illegal mining halted on Chinese ELC in Preah Vihear

Preah Vihear provincial authorities cracked down last week on an illegal gold mining operation occurring inside a land concession belonging to a Chinese company in Rovieng district.

Unauthorised mining is common both inside and outside the 2008 concession to Cambodia WS Mining Industry Holding Ltd, known to locals as CWS, which is located near Romtum commune’s Trapang Tutem village, local authorities said yesterday.

Kong Makara, director of the provincial mines and energy department, said that following the crackdown led by the department, CWS had deployed guards to patrol the area.

“So far, the lawless mining took place on the company’s land . . . the company is deploying its guards there,” Makara said before declining to comment further.

Rovieng District Governor Eh Sarou said the families involved with the mining were warned to stop or to seek permission to mine legally.

Uk Ngar, Trapang Tuntem village chief, said the number of local miners is very low and that most are migrants hailing from Battambang, Kampong Thom and elsewhere in Preah Vihear.

“[For] about 20 years already, gold mining on a family scale has taken place, but later on, the Chinese and Vietnamese companies came and invested, they used vehicles such as excavators to dig their mines,” he said.

CWS could not be reached for comment.

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