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Thursday, December 13th, 2018 - Buy Gold - Bringing you trusted gold news and gold investing information since 2006

Cambodia Gold Rush New Target of Mining Giants

A modern day gold rush in a remote corner of Cambodia is the new target of foreign mining giants, Sapa reports.

The area, known as the “Gold Forest”, has already seen hundreds of local prospectors arrive in search of the precious metal. Currently the Gold Forest is a hand-dug mine close to the village of O’Clor in the northeast province of Mondulkiri.

Locals are said to be able to fetch about $12.50 per day here, which compared to the less than a dollar a day that a third of the population makes, is a significant income.

However, the work is “dangerous, difficult and completely illegal”.

These informal mining practices have been tolerated by the Cambodian government for decades, but with an increasing interest shown by foreign mining giants, this is about to change.

A Chinese firm has already been granted exploration rights for the area adjacent to the O’Clor mine, where it has started its exploration work.

“I don’t expect we can mine here for much longer… We have been told that a company has bought the area and we are not allowed to dig deeper tunnels,” said 29-year old Cambodian Ry Kuok.

“Cambodian people found the gold, but the company is getting the gold,” 51-year-old Sum Sokhon added.

Industry experts are predicting that Cambodia is about five years away from seeing large-scale gold extraction taking place in the country, with mining companies from Australia, China, South Korea and Vietnam looking to invest in the country’s anticipated 19 gold deposits.

The true extent of Cambodia’s gold assets is unclear. Last year, Australian miner OZ Minerals announced that it has made a 605,000-ounce gold find in Mondulkiri province. However, since then, drilling projects have disappointed.

According to President of the Cambodian Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, Richard Stanger, the growing mining industry “could be a major contribution to the economy of Cambodia in the future.”

At present, however, there are ongoing problems with transparency in the country’s mining sector, and George Boden from environmental watchdog Global Witness, said “There is still very little information about the process of allocation of mining rights in Cambodia and what payments are made for their receipt.”

Gold prices have reached record highs on international markets in recent months as investors are looking for a safe haven among global economic uncertainty.

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