Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry responds to MP’s request on silica

Ministry responds to MP’s request on silica

A ship called the Deryoung Sunflower carries silica sand in late April off of the Sihanoukville coast.
A ship called the Deryoung Sunflower carries silica sand in late April off of the Sihanoukville coast. Ly Raksmey/Mother Nature Cambodia

Ministry responds to MP’s request on silica

Responding to an official inquiry from an opposition lawmaker, the Ministry of Mines and Energy on Tuesday released details about silica sand exports, which became a source of minor controversy after they were revealed to be exempt from a ban on sand exports.

CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay requested the details two months ago, and yesterday called the ministry’s response a “positive” step, but expressed concerns that the only two companies licensed to mine and export such sand are owned or chaired by ruling party senators.

The ministry disclosed that it has only granted two industrial mining licences for silica sand – to CPP Senator Mong Reththy’s eponymous Mong Reththy Group, and to Silica Services Cambodge, which is chaired by CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat.

From November 2016 to June 15, Mong Reththy exported 54,100 metric tonnes of silica, while Silica Services exported 104,000 metric tonnes.

The ministry said it had collected $474,300 in royalties from silica sand during that period. In a statement, however, it noted that some of the documents requested by Chhay fell under the purview of other ministries.

Chhay said that while he hadn’t seen the official response yet, he “accept[ed] the explanation”, but would “check how these two companies got the licence” given their leadership.

San Chey, of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, also said the companies’ political connections raised concerns over abuses of power in the licensing process.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth