Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kratie authorities clamp down on eight illegal gold mining operations

Kratie authorities clamp down on eight illegal gold mining operations

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kratie authorities crack down on illegal mining at Kratie province’s Sambor district. Photo supplied

Kratie authorities clamp down on eight illegal gold mining operations

Eight goldmines in O’Tron village in Kratie province’s Sambor district were filled in by a provincial sub-committee taskforce on Friday and Saturday as part of a crackdown on the illegal extraction of natural resources.

Kratie provincial deputy governor Khan Chamnan, who led the task force, told The Post on Monday that his team had previously warned locals to stop all illegal mining operations, with 15 families given a week to do so.

“The deadline passed several weeks ago, and our team found eight different locations where villagers did not follow through with their agreements, so our team inspected and shut down the illegal mining operations,” Chamnan said.

In 2011, Chinese company Xing Yuan Kang Yeak Co purchased 28sq km from the government, including the area in Sambor district, with a licence to operate goldmines.

It temporarily ceased operations some three years ago after a mineshaft collapse in which four workers were killed and many others suffered serious injuries, Chamnan said.

In mid-2018, the firm began preparing to resume operations and requested intervention from authorities to stop illegal mining in the company’s economic land concession or it would launch legal proceedings against those who did so.

Sok Kiriroth, director of the provincial mine and energy department, who was involved in the crackdown, said authorities used two excavators and a bulldozer to fill in the illegal shafts.

“During the operation in Kbal Damrei commune’s O’Tron village, authorities completely filled in eight illegal mines and 12 ponds used by local illegal miners to clean [semi-precious mineral] malachite."

“Authorities will take stronger action if the company sues the villagers,” he said.

Khin Leng, a member one of the 15 local families who mined in the area, told The Post that only a small group of villagers had mined the company’s shafts to help support their families.

“The mining contributed income to my family, but we cannot violate the ban because we operated illegally as the mines belonged to the company, which had obt ained a mining licence from the government,” he said.

The company brought three containers of equipment to the area over the weekend in preparation for reopening the mines, said O’Tron village chief Sok Yoeun on Monday.

He said villagers would be able to work in the mines when the company resumed operations.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Support of CNRP return online will lead to arrest’

    Anyone posting messages supporting the return of Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), on social media will be arrested, the Ministry of Interior announced on Tuesday. Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told The Post on Monday that authorities

  • Police conduct raid on Orchid massage parlour

    Thirty-seven people, including three minors, were detained after Phnom Penh Municipal Police and the Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection raided the Orchid massage parlour in Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmey commune on Monday. The 27-room massage parlour is believed to have

  • Gov’t: US allows Rainsy terrorism

    The US is allowing Sam Rainsy to use its territory to carry out terrorist activities against Cambodia, government spokesman Phay Siphan charged on Thursday. Joining in the salvo, an academic said the US is also using Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia

  • CNRP budget announced for soldiers who defect

    The permanent committee of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) said it has a budget for soldiers who defect from Prime Minister Hun Sen when “acting president” Sam Rainsy returns on November 9. An analyst said such an action amounted to forming a coup,