The Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy is set to review applications soon for rights to four coal mining concession areas it opened late in March in the northern region of the country.

The ministry said in a press release that interested national and international companies can apply for a mining licence at the General Department of Mineral Resources, adding that it will make a public announcement naming the winning company once the process is completed.

Director-General of the General Department of Mineral Resources Yos Monirath said the ministry saw the potential for exploitable mineral resources in the areas that cover a total of 794 sq. km. It has received four of five applications for mining licences in the four sites and will review the applications next week

He said the ministry previously granted a licence to a private company for one of the areas – a 200 sq. km. site in the Trapaing Tiem area in Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district. However, this company did not discover mineral resources and the ministry decided not to renew its licence.

However, he noted, the ministry reopened the coal mining concession area for private companies to invest in research because the area is zoned for mining extraction to supply coal-fired power plants that the government has decided to construct nearby.

Another area is the 194 sq. km. site in the Tumnop Dach area which straddles across Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces. The remaining areas are 200 sq. km. each and are located in Mondulkiri province.

The official added the ministry has issued 40 metal exploration licences throughout Cambodia./.