Cambodia Expects First Drop of Oil in Late 2019
Perspectives from local authorities and local communities on mining project moderated by Ms. Mout Chantheany, DPA-EISEI Coordinator, during 7th EIGF meeting, April 2019. Photo: Naratevy Kek/Oxfam
Text by: Naratevy Kek/Oxfam
Cambodia will extract oil for the first time at the end of this year. Mining, oil and gas could bring great economic opportunities to the country but the resources will have to be managed with inclusive governance.
During the 7th Extractive Industries Governance Forum (EIGF) held last April under the theme Cambodia Mining, Oil and Gas Outlook 2019 and Beyond, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) announced that two gold-mining firms—Indian-owned mining firm Mesco Gold (Cambodia) Ltd. and Australian-based Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd.—will operate.
“There is no doubt that mining, oil and gas can bring great economic opportunities. But to be able to materialize such benefits, any mining project must at least ensure that the country achieve three things: optimize the size and scale of national fiscal collection, improve the livelihood of local communities near the industry sites and maintain the quality of the natural environment and public welfare,” said H.E. Meng Saktheara, MME secretary of state. “Achieving such a dream requires far-reaching sector reform and a meaningful, inclusive approach to governance. EIGF is keystone to creating such governance.”
Transparency—Key to Managing Stakeholder and Public Expectations
Oxfam is pleased that this industry is taking off with some good front runners that are open to dialogue with civil society and, more importantly, the affected communities, and will continue to support the sustainability of this development by being a critical friend of the government and the industry. “We commend the leadership that the Ministry of Mines and Energy is giving and the industry for their promotion of dialogue and raising public awareness. Secrecy breeds distrust. This revenue should be collected in a transparent and accountable way and expenditures must go through the national budgetary process with parliamentary oversight. For this revenue to truly benefit Cambodians it should be invested towards universal healthcare, education and social protection,” said Ms. Solinn Lim, Cambodia Country Director of Oxfam.
The Extractive Industries Governance Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform that offers space for meaningful dialogue between communities, regulators, operators and other stakeholders on responsible investment in the extractive industries sector. It is chaired by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, with its registered membership including oil, gas and mining companies, along with 14 civil society organizations.
Interview with media during 7th Extractive Industries Governance Forum (EIGF) on "Mining, Oil and Gas Outlook 2019 and Beyond". Photo: Naratevy Kek/Oxfam