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Golden Boost for Cambodian Economy

Phnom Penh : Cambodia will begin industrial-scale gold mining on 21 June, in what is a huge boost for the economy. The announcement was made last night by Prime Minister Hun Sen. He says the country’s first industrial gold mine will begin official operations in the O’ Kvav region of Mondulkiri after 14 years of exploration and feasibility studies.

The Prime Minister says the mine is expected to add about $185-million a year to the national treasury, which will be used for social and economic development.

It was on Thursday that Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd. produced Cambodia’s first semi-finished gold bars, otherwise known as “gold dore”. The Prime Minister says the gold dore bars contain 90% pure gold, making them much purer than standard gold dore bars, which typically have a purity of between 50 and 75%. The bars are then refined further before being used as a raw material to produce gold items.

Renaissance Minerals is a subsidiary of Australia-listed Emerald Resources NL and says it aims to produce three tonnes of pure gold every year for the first eight years of operations.

Prime Minster Hun Sen considers this first gold mine as a model for future mineralisation in Cambodia that will contribute to sustainable development, but he has warned any future operators that technical mineral manufacturing must be sustainable and environmentally-friendly, saying underqualified operations will not bring about any benefits and could cause accidents and environmental harm.

The Prime Minister has expressed his pride in Cambodia becoming a “golden country” and has praised the teams behind what he’s called a “historic achievement”.

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