Mines Ministry issues new dredging licences

By: Taing Vida

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has announced that it will grant two sand dredging licences around Phnom Penh Port, just days after declaring that no new licences would be issued until economic impact assessments had been carried out.

In an April 10 press release, the ministry said the two licences – in Kampong Cham’s Kang Meas district and Kandal’s Kien Svay and Loeuk Dek districts – would facilitate marine rehabilitation and were a response to the rising price of sand in the capital.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 cubic metres of sand will be dredged and sold for between $4.50 and $5 per cubic metre under the terms of the licences.

Previously, on April 1, the ministry announced no new licences would be issued in Phnom Penh and surrounding Kandal province until environmental assessments had been carried out over a three- to six-month period.

According to Secretary of State at the Ministry of Mines and Energy Dith Tina, one target of the dredging will be two islets growing in the Mekong River that are making the current flow irregularly and causing collapses on the river’s banks. Tina added that more licences would be granted in the area in May.

The sand will be sold from 10 depots in and around Phnom Penh during a one-week pilot scheme, with more depots slated to open if demand outstrips supply.