Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers allege illicit mining by Chinese, Vietnamese firms



Villagers allege illicit mining by Chinese, Vietnamese firms

A boat allegedly used to illegally mine gold floats on Sesan River in Ratanakkiri
A boat allegedly used to illegally mine gold floats on Sesan River in Ratanakkiri’s Taveng district last week. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Villagers allege illicit mining by Chinese, Vietnamese firms

More than 600 families of ethnic Tumpuon villagers from Taveng district on Monday filed complaints with Ratanakkiri authorities and rights group Adhoc seeking a halt to illegal mining of gold by two companies.

Chhay Thy, Adhoc provincial coordinator, said yesterday that community representative Traing Thaim, 28, submitted a 60-page letter with 719 thumbprints and signatures to his office on Monday morning, asking for intervention to stop Chinese firm Discovery Investment Co Ltd and an unidentified Vietnamese company from pumping gold from Sesan River.

“The companies got licences to operate sand dredgers, but instead they’ve set up gold mines,” Thy said.

According to Thaim, the firms began setting up their operations in August and September last year. They started mining this month and already, he said, the effects have been seen in nine villages.

“It spoils water and we cannot use it, animals cannot drink the water [and] the riverbank is collapsing.”

Besides Adhoc, the community also submitted a complaint to authorities, Thaim said.

Muong Pang, Taveng district governor, said he had received the complaint but believed the villagers are misinformed.

“Our villages are worried when the see the ferries and they think it pumps gold, but in fact it pumps sand,” he said.

Neither company could be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants