Cambodia opens up coal mining opportunities


The Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy will soon review applications for the rights to four coal mining concession areas in the north of the country. A total area of 794sq km is included in the concessions.

Coal concession in Cambodia

The General Department of Mineral Resources director-general Yos Monirath said “the ministry saw the areas’ potential for exploitable minerals resources” and called on interested companies to apply for a mining licence.

Local Cambodian media reported that a private company had previously been granted a license for a 200sq km site in the Trapaing Tiem area in Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat districts. However, they did not discover mineral resources and the license was not renewed.

Despite this, the ministry believes that other companies may have a better opportunity by reopening the mining concession areas. “We reopened the coal mining concession area for private companies to invest in research because the area is zoned for mining extraction to supply coal-fired power plants that the government has decided to construct nearby,” said Monirath.

The areas for the concession include:

  • A 194sq km site in the Tumnop Dach area between Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district and Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district.
  • Two 200sq km areas located in Mondulkiri province’s Pech Chreada district.

According to the ministry, between 4-5 applications for mining licences had been received with the ministry planning to review them in May 2020.

In total, 40 metal exploration licences had already been issued throughout Cambodia.

Gold mining in Cambodia

Emerald Resources NL, an Australian-listed mining firm is developing the Okvau gold project in Mondulkiri province. Operating as Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd. – they have completed their scoping and feasibility study on their 1.2 million-ounce Gold deposit in Mondulkiri.

MESCO Gold Cambodia Limited (in association with Angkor Gold Corporation, a Canadian Company) is also in the process of sourcing gold at its Phum Syarung mine in Ratanakkiri province.

Yos Monirath said, “The ministry will continue to promote additional gold exploration licences in the area around the Okvau project and increase its business.”

There is believed to be huge potential for production of a number of minerals such as gold, copper and other base metals, bauxite, iron ore, coal as well as oil and gas, both on and offshore in Cambodia.

In 2019 the mining sector in Cambodia collected more than $21 million in non-tax revenue and investment capital in the mining sector was valued at $1.157 billion.


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