Indian mining firm prepares to dig deep in Ratanakkiri

The Ministry of Mines and Energy is set to issue the country’s first commercial underground mining license to Indian company Mesco Gold in two weeks, despite opposition by residents of two villages concerned about compensation and environmental damage. The company plans to break ground on its concession in Ratanakkiri province’s O’yadaw district in about six weeks, said Harsh Sharma, operations director for Mesco Gold, a Cambodia-based subsidiary of New Delhi-based Mesco Steel. The Council for the Development of Cambodia approved the project about two weeks ago after a lengthy environmental impact assessment that an official at Angkor Gold, the Canadian company that previously owned the concession, said was conducted “to Western standards.” But those living near the planned mine are not convinced.

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