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Villagers, mining firm settle land dispute

Villagers, mining firm settle land dispute

Villagers in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district have accepted compensation offers from an Indian company seeking a licence to mine gold in the area.

In a meeting yesterday with representatives of Mesco Gold, 18 affected villagers accepted compensation offers from the company of at least $1,500 per hectare of land, according to Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc.

“Before, the company offered them only $1,300 per hectare, but now it says it will compensate at least $1,500,” he said.

Thy added that the company had offered an additional $18,300 for 12 hectares of community forest that stands to be affected by the plans, which will be split between the villagers.

Forty-two-year-old resident Sev Chen said he was pleased with the result.

“Everyone is happy,” he said.

Meng Saktheara, secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said he has yet to receive an official report of the agreement, which he said was a positive step but “only a small part of the process”.

Company representatives could not be reached yesterday to confirm the deal.

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