Extractive industries licensing and payments

Overview of​ an industrial gold mine and refinery in Okvau. Photo taken from the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s Facebook Page, taken on 11 June 2021.

Mineral resources are defined as “any substance, whether in solid, liquid or gaseous form, naturally originated by a geological process or as a result of mining in or on the land, or in or on the sea or seabed, including gemstones, coals, metal and non-metal mines, mineral water, rock, gravels, sand, clay, petroleum, and gas”, in Article 3 of the Law on Mineral Resource Management and Exploitation (“the Law”).1 Cambodia’s mineral resources are divided into five groups:

  • metallic minerals
  • non-metallic/industrial minerals
  • gemstones and ornamental stones
  • solid fuel minerals
  • construction minerals.2

All mineral resources within the territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia are considered to be the property of the state. Therefore, all mining operations conducted without a license from the government are illegal. The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) is responsible for licensing, managing, and inspecting mining operations to ensure that provisions in the Law are respected.3 The number of active licenses has increased rapidly from 19 mineral exploration licenses and 11 industrial mining licenses issued between 1994 and 2006  up to a total of 435 construction mining licenses, 17 industrial mining licenses, and 30 mineral exploration licenses as of 2022.4

Mining Operations

According to the Law, there are three stages of mining operations: prospecting, exploring, and exploiting the mineral resources. Prospecting is the preliminary exploration of the land surface by using simple instruments, involving only minor ground disturbance, in order to determine the minerals or ores with possible commercial value leading to the application for licenses to explore and exploit the mineral resources.

After that, the exploration stage investigates by conducting geological, geophysical, and geochemical surveys, excavations, drilling, removal, and analysis of soils, silts, water, rock, and mineral samples. At this stage, the aim is to determine the extent, quality, quantity, potential economic values and exploitation feasibility of a resource.

Lastly, the exploitation of mineral resources is the mining operation where minerals are extracted from any mineral deposit, and processed, transported, sold or exported for commercial ends. The sale, exportation, and importation of valuable metals and gemstones in a raw state and after transformation is governed by the provisions of Cambodian law. The following figure highlights the location of mining concessions in different parts of Cambodia.5

Interactive Map

This map illustrates the concessions for mining in Cambodia. Users could add additional layers, such as major foreign investment projects, assessment of undiscovered copper resources in Cambodia, and metallic mining development potential index, etc. to the map to better understand the mining landscape in Cambodia.

Licenses for Mineral Resources

There are six categories of license which are made available to applicants in order to facilitate the management of the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources within Cambodia.6 Those licenses are:

Artisanal mining license

Artisanal mining licenses are issued only to Khmer nationals for conducting the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources using locally available common instruments and their own labor or with the help of a family consisting of no more than seven members.7 This license is valid for one year.8

Applicants can apply for the license at the One Window Service office of the Departments of Mines and Energy in capitals and provinces. After the expert unit has checked that the documents are sufficient, and inspected the location and mining site in accordance with the technical and environmental conditions within 45 days, the customers can come to pay the service fee of the license at the Departments.

The service fee for an artisan mining license is 100,000 Riels. The fee for document preparation and processing service for licensing is 100,000 Riels and 50,000 Riels for license registration.9

Pits and quarries mining license

The pits and quarries mining license is issued to qualified to conduct the exploration and exploitation of construction and industrial minerals which are mined from pits and quarries, and used for construction, the chemical industry, and secondary industry.10 This license is valid for two years.11

Similar to the artisan mining license, the issuing of a pits and quarries mining license follows the same process except for the fact that the applicants must submit the license application at the One Window Service office at the Ministry of Mine and Energy and pay the license fee at the Mineral Resources Revenue Management Office of the General Department of Mineral Resources.

According to the Law, the service fee for a pits and quarries mining license for construction sand, gravel, laterite, and clay is 10,000,000 Riels, and for construction stone, dimension stones, gypsum, and similar material is 20,000,000 Riels. In addition, for a pits and quarries mining license renewal for construction stones, dimension stones, gypsum, and similar the fee is 20,000,000 Riels.

For the license transfer, the applicants are expected to pay 10,000,000 Riels for construction sand, gravel, latte, and clay, and 50,000,000 Riels for construction stone, dimension stones, gypsum, and similar.

Source: Joint proclamation​​ no. 1451 on Ministry of Mines and Energy’s public service and penalty fee
License registrationFees
Pits and quarries mining license registration for construction sand, gravel800,000 Riels
Pits and quarries mining license registration for construction stone, dimension stones, gypsum, and similar1,500,000 Riels
Document preparation and processing services for other mineral resource licensing500,000 Riels
Issuance of acknowledgment letters, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of less than 50%)
Pits and quarries mining license for construction sand, gravel, laterite, clay2,500,000 Riels
Pits and quarries mining license for construction stone, dimension stones, gypsum, and similar15,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of more than 50%)
Pits and quarries mining license for construction sand, gravel, laterite, clay5,000,000 Riels
Pits and quarries mining license for construction stone, dimension stones, gypsum, and similar25,000,000 Riels

Gemstone mining license

A gemstone mining license may be issued to qualified and competent persons or legal entities to conduct the exploration and mining of precious and semi-precious stones, and ornament stones.12 This license is valid for one year.13

Issuing a gemstone mining license follows the same process as for the pits and quarries mining license. The service fee for a small-scale and large-scale gemstone mining license is 1,000,000 Riels and 15,000,000 Riels, respectively. For the license transfer, it costs 50,000,000 Riels. The fee for document preparation and processing services for other mineral resource licensing is 500,000 Riels.

Source: Joint proclamation​​ no. 1451 on Ministry of Mines and Energy’s public service and penalty fee
License registrationFees
Small-scale gemstone mining license registration100,000 Riels
Large-scale gemstone mining license registration3,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of less than 50%)
Gemstone mining license20,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of more than 50%)
Gemstone mining license25,000,000 Riels

Mineral transforming license

A mineral transforming license may be issued to qualified persons or legal entities for the purpose of transforming precious or semi-precious stones or ornamental stones.14 This license is valid for three years.15

The issuing of the mineral transforming license follows the same process as for the pits and quarries mining license and gemstone mining license. Service fees vary according to the number of persons. For a license of fewer than seven persons, it costs 3,600,000 Riels while the fee rises up to 7,200,000 Riels for a license of seven to 14 persons. For a license of more than 14 persons, the service fee is 15,000,000 Riels. In terms of the license transfer, it will cost 2,500,000 Riels for a labor force of less than seven persons, 5,000,000 Riels for seven to 14 persons, and 8,000,000 for a labor force of more than 14 persons.

Source: Joint proclamation​​ no. 1451 on Ministry of Mines and Energy’s public service and penalty fee
License registrationFees
Mineral transforming license registration8,000,000 Riels
Document preparation and processing services for other mineral resource licensing500,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of less than 50%)
Mineral transforming license with a labor force of less than seven persons1,000,000 Riels
Mineral transforming license with a labor force from seven to 14 persons1,000,000 Riels
Mineral transforming license with a labor force of more than 14 persons1,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of more than 50%)
Mineral transforming license with a labor force of less than seven persons5,000,000 Riels
Mineral transforming license with a labor force from seven to14 persons5,000,000 Riels
Mineral transforming license with a labor force of more than 14 persons5,000,000 Riels

Exploration license

An exploration license may be issued to qualified and competent persons or legal entities for the purpose of conducting exploration of minerals and studying their potential.16 This license is valid for three years and can be renewed for two terms of two years.17

Issuing of exploration licenses follows the same process as for pits and quarries mining licenses, gemstone mining, and mineral transforming licenses. The service fee of an exploration license is 20,000,000 Riels. It costs 20,000,000 Riels to renew the license and 100,000,000 Riels to transfer it. The cost of document preparation and processing services for other mineral resource licensing is 500,000 Riels.

Source: Joint proclamation​​ no. 1451 on Ministry of Mines and Energy’s public service and penalty fee
License registrationFees
Exploration license registration5,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of less than 50%)
Exploration license40,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of more than 50%)
Exploration license50,000,000 Riels

Industrial mining license

An industrial mining license is issued only to the holder of an exploration license for the purpose of conducting exploration and mining of economically viable mineral deposits established within the boundaries of the exploration license.18 This license is valid for 21 years and can be renewed for two terms of 10 years.19

The issuing of industrial mining licenses follows the same process as for the pits and quarries mining licenses, gemstone mining, mineral transforming licenses, and exploration licenses. The service fee for a small-scale and large-scale industrial mining license is 1,000,000 Riels and 50,000,000 Riels respectively. For large-scale industrial mining license renewal, the fee is 50,000,000 Riels, while the cost of large-scale industrial mining license transfer is 200,000,000 Riels.

Source: Joint proclamation​​ no. 1451 on Ministry of Mines and Energy’s public service and penalty fee
License registrationFees
Large-scale industrial mining license registration15,000,000 Riels
Small-scale industrial mining license registration100,000 Riels
Document preparation and processing services for other mineral resource licensing500,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of less than 50%)
Industrial mining license100,000,000 Riels
Issuance of letter of acknowledgment, change of shareholder composition, and/or change of company manager (with a change of more than 50%)
Industrial mining license100,000,000 Riels.

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References

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