Mesco closes in on gold licence

After an unexpectedly lengthy review, the Ministry of Environment has approved the environmental and social impact study of Indian mining firm Mesco Gold, clearing the last major hurdle for the company to receive a licence to operate the Kingdom’s first royalty-generating mine.

“The Ministry of Environment has given its approval for underground mining over a 12 square kilometre area,” Rajeev Moudgil, director of Mesco Gold (Cambodia) Ltd, said yesterday.

Capital residents want city to inspect cement factory

Representatives of 51 families living in the capital’s Chbar Ampov district yesterday delivered a petition to Phnom Penh Municipal Hall calling on authorities to inspect a cement factory they fear may be dangerous and damaging to their health.

The Sambath Meancheng Concrete Company operates a sand-dredging and cement-mixing business in Veal Sbov commune’s Kdei Ta Koy village. Residents say the factory fills their home with sand and cement dust, and that its machinery keeps them awake at night, vibrating with such intensity that it causes nearby buildings to crack.

Pesticides blamed for sickening 31 in Battambang

Water contaminated by pesticides has been blamed for poisoning 31 people in Battambang’s Samlot district.

The victims, aged from 6 months to 40 years, were taken to Ka Sang health centre suffering vomiting, fever and headaches after using water from a stream and pond in Prey Thhom village on Thursday. All were expected to recover.

Provincial health service deputy director Ouk Vithiear said pesticides probably seeped into the water from the surrounding farmland.

Laos vows to limit dam impacts

The head of Laos’ ruling party reportedly pledged to limit the downstream impacts of the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam in his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen in Vientiane on Saturday.

According to a Cambodian state television report covering the visit, the Cambodian premier raised the issue during the meeting and asked his counterpart to do everything he can to ensure “sustainable” water use.

Hydro standards ‘below par’, study finds

Chinese money accounts for the overwhelming majority of investment in Cambodia’s anaemic energy sector, but while the government has been happy to take Beijing’s loans for the construction of hydroelectric plants, a study published last month found that such investment came with both ecological and economic consequences.

Taking as a case study the Chinese-built Kamchay hydropower dam in Kampot province, the paper – written by Amsterdam Free University’s Heng Pheakdey – examines the roots and consequences of China’s interest in Cambodia’s underdeveloped electricity generation facilities.

Tonle Bassac dredging necessary, say officials

norder to aid waterway transport, sand-dredging – largely banned since a 2011 decree – will soon begin reappearing at dozens of locations along the Tonle Bassac river, a spokesman from the Ministry of Mines and Energy confirmed yesterday.

According to Meng Saktheara, at the behest of local authorities and the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, the government has identified some 30 to 40 spots stretching from the southeastern outskirts of Phnom Penh all the way to the Vietnamese border that require dredging to ease transport along the river.

Koh Kong sand dredging impact studies due

The Ministry of Mines and Energy plans to release the environmental impact assessments of two controversial sand-dredging companies in Koh Kong “soon”, ministry spokesman Meng Saktheara said on Monday.

Activists from NGO Mother Nature – three of whom have been arrested for interfering with the companies’ operations – have long claimed that International Rainbow Company Ltd and Direct Access Ltd began work without studying the impact on habitats and fishing communities.

Cambodian FM urges Laos to further study impacts of hydropower dam

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Tuesday called on Laos to conduct further studies on the environmental impacts of a proposed 260-megawatt hydropower dam.

The Lao National Assembly approved the concession agreement for the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam on the lower Mekong River in August and expected to begin construction before the year end.

Speaking at a meeting with Somsavat Lengsavad, visiting Lao Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, Hor Namhong said the dam is located only 2 km upstream from Cambodia's border.