Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs: Reorient mining fund provisions

NGOs: Reorient mining fund provisions

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officials inspect a mining site in Kratie province’s Snuol district in June last year. Photo supplied

NGOs: Reorient mining fund provisions

OXFAM Cambodia and the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA) will jointly implement a project aimed at providing input to the government’s mineral resource development fund.

The organisations said the project, Improve Access to Mining Development Fund for Affected Communities in Cambodia, came after they had observed that mineral tax revenues did not seem to address problems on the ground or help communities affected by mining.

In a joint press release on March 25, they said that during 2015 the Ministry of Mines and Energy established a mineral resource development fund for communities affected by mining activities. Income is generated from taxes, fines and services. The fund would be used for development such as roads, schools and wells.

The NGOs initiated the project to contribute to the government in developing and proposing standard operational procedures to help communities affected by mining investment.

The project will include research, consultation with national and sub-national administrations, civil society organisations and communities in order to improve the effectiveness of access to the mining fund for community development.

Oxfam country director Lim Solinn said: “Investment in the extractive industries has grown rapidly in Cambodia. Oxfam wants to see this sector invest in a sustainable way, contributing to poverty reduction and reduce their impact on society and the environment. And the revenue collected will be managed responsibly.”

Energy ministry spokesman Yos Mony Rath told The Post on March 28 that his ministry is in charge of the mining development fund for affected communities, but he was unaware of the project.

“I don’t understand why these two organisations made a press release regarding this project. It is a government initiative that set up a mining fund to support local community development through the energy ministry.

“In reality, we don’t even need these organisations to participate because we have our clear procedures to deal with the local community. We have a mechanism for communes that are directly and indirectly affected by mining,” he said, adding that the ministry manages the fund based on the budget for each project and affected community.

He said it would be better if the organisations were willing to raise additional funds to support the affected communities.

ANSA executive director San Chey said the project was only designed to ensure effective and transparent funding from mining businesses.

“What we are doing is to have one standard operational procedure with input from civil organisations and the local community for the government to consider when allocating funds,” he said.

Chey hoped that the results obtained from the implementation of the pilot project for 2021 in all affected communities will be accepted by the government, especially the energy ministry, and the fund will be managed with transparency and accountability.

Citing figures from the ministry’s annual meeting in February last year, the NGOs said 17 companies were granted licences for mining business, while 37 licences were given to mine exploration firms. They said 323 other companies were granted licences for mining in construction.

And in late March of last year, the ministry issued 16 new licences to mining companies in six provinces including Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Stung Treng, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom, the joint press release said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen invites US president to attend summit in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen personally invited US President Joe Biden to attend the ASEAN-US Summit which is set to be held in Cambodia in November, as ASEAN and the US are expected to upgrade their strategic partnership to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, according to Prime

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden