Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government grants approvals in principle for copper exploration

Government grants approvals in principle for copper exploration

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Workers in a gold mining operation in Battambang in 2011. Heng Chivoan

Government grants approvals in principle for copper exploration

The Ministry of Mines and Energy on Sunday announced that two companies have been granted initial approval to carry out copper exploration in the Kingdom.

General Department of Mineral Resources director-general Yos Mony Rath said the applications of HT Kuang Ye Cambodia Development Co Ltd and Cambodia K88 Industry Co Ltd have received initial approval.

However, the two companies still need to submit some documentation before the licences can be issued.

“In the next step, they will be asked to submit a master plan and an environmental impact assessment [EIA],” Mony Rath said.

A total of six companies applied for the licences. The applications of DSN Inter Mining Import Export Co Ltd, Hou Socheat Investment (HSI) Co Ltd, Inspire Geological Exploration (Cambodia) Co Ltd, and Sichuan Xinhe Mining Co Ltd were not approved.

HT Kuang Ye said in a press release that it will be exploring for copper on two blocs measuring a combined 82.25sq km in Stung Treng province’s Thala Barivat district.

Cambodia K88 Industry will be exploring 93.94sq km in Kratie province’s Sambor district, and Kampong Thom’s Sandan district.

The other companies can still apply for exploration licences for other minerals, he said.

According to Mony Rath, the ministry has issued 39 copper exploration licences across the country.

Australia-listed mining firm Emerald Resources NL is developing the Okvau gold project in Mondulkiri province. The first extraction is expected to take place this year.

The company released its definitive feasibility study in May 2017 and revealed that the project could produce 106,000 ounces of gold per year on average.

It estimated that the mine will initially be active for seven years, with capital investment amounting to A$98 million ($65.1 million).

In January, it announced plans to raise A$75 million in funds for the Okvau gold project with two placements of 1.875 billion new shares.

Emerald Resources has set March 19 as its deadline to complete the placement, with the second tranche to go before shareholders at its March 13 general meeting.

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