Cambodia has produced nearly nine tonnes of semi-refined gold bars since production commenced in June 2021, marking a new source of government revenue from the mining sector.

Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rattanak stated during the “Mining and Energy Policy in Cambodia” forum on November 21 that six companies are currently refining gold ore.

“As of now, Cambodia has produced around 1,040 gold bars, totalling approximately 8,979kg. With the gold, the government has earned more than $14.4 million in royalties,” he said. 

Ung Dipola, director-general of the General Department of Mineral Resources at the ministry, told The Post recently some of the companies currently mining.

He noted that Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Australia-listed Emerald Resources NL (ASX: EMR), is a major gold mining company operating in Mondulkiri province.

In Preah Vihear province, the “medium-sized” Delcom (Kampuchea) Pte Ltd commenced trial production on August 4, producing 20 semi-refined gold bars weighing about 20kg. 

He said that the company aims to produce 340kg annually, potentially generating approximately $600,000 in royalties each year. He added that five other companies have also been granted gold mining licences. 

Dipola confirmed that there are no formal gold mining businesses in Ratanakkiri province, although three active gold exploration licences exist – two to a subsidiary of Canadian firm Angkor Gold Corp and one to Chinese company Oriental Wisdom. 

Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, stated that Renaissance has seen a significant increase in gold production, contributing to the country’s economic growth. 

He also noted that the formal mining sector presents labour opportunities in the region.

“The government should persist in ensuring companies adhere to mining regulations and continue to license these types of firms for gold exploration in other areas,” he suggested. 

According to Renaissance, its mining project is located in the Okvau region, within the eastern corridor of the Chung Phlas commune of Keo Seima in southwestern Mondulkiri province. Commercial operations were initiated on June 21, 2022, aiming to produce an average of three tonnes of dore bars annually. 

The company expects the project to generate $185 million annually in pre-tax cashflow, contributing $40 million to the government’s national budget through royalties and taxes.

In July 2023, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved Metal Jewelry (Cambodia) Co Ltd to invest $9 million in a factory within the Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSP), as domestic gold production continues, as per the CDC.