Quarry Projects Face Conservation Review


PHNOM PENH – The Ministry of Mines and Energy will not issue a license for new quarrying projects unless there is a review to balance development and conservation.

Keo Rattanak, Minister of Mines and Energy, made the promise at a Government-private sectors forum on Nov. 1. 

He had been urged to step in because prices for quarry products were low. Industry representative Hak Bunthorn said competitiveness had caused some companies to shut down. 

However, Rattanak said the private sector can supply construction stones to the local market at good prices.

“Cambodia is applying a free market economy. The ministry will issue the license for them if they follow the conditions in environment and customs properly,” he said. 

“However, we also balance development and conservation. I don’t want to see all mountains quarried. Some mountains have historical, cultural or tourism values.”

Rattanak said that a certain price cannot be set in a free market economy but the government and private sectors can work together to take action against suppliers who break the law, especially those who compete unfairly. 

He complained that there are mountains with big or small areas of exposed rock all along the way from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk city. 

He ordered the General Department of Mineral Resources to work with the Department of Mines and Energy across the country and to discuss with the Department of Culture and Fine Arts and Tourism Department about mountain conservation. 

“We don’t want to lose the fabled Neang Kong Rei mountain in Kampong Chhnang province. We don’t want every mountain quarried. It can’t happen,” he said. 

Rattanak added that the review would take six to seven months to determine the supply policy. This would allow for implementation of conservation work. 


Originally written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey, this story was translated by Meng Seavmey for Cambodianess. 

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