Mineral exploration permits offered for protected Prey Lang

One of four new mining exploration permits, advertised publicly this week, is within the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary map, coordinates reveal, sparking concern among activists and community members about the strength of the forest’s recently-acquired protected status. In the first public tender of fresh exploration licenses since its creation in 2013, the Ministry for Mines and Energy this week called for expressions of interest to prospect for minerals, primarily gold and copper, in four areas covering a total of 552 square kilometres. According to GPS way points cited in the accompanying documentation, one of the concessions – covering 94 square kilometres in Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district and Kratie province’s Sambour district – sits within the southern end of the 432,000 hectare sanctuary.

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