The Royal Government of Cambodia has adopted on May 05, 2016 the Sub-Decree on Management of Mineral Exploration and Industrial Mining Licenses based on requested from the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The adoption has set a new regulatory regime for this sector aiming to promote sustainable mining practice to achieve the sector policy vision: wealth for all.
Inspired by the Western Australia mining codes and regulations, the sub-decree provides a new regulatory framework in Cambodia for the mining sector based on international best practices. According to the sub-decree, all mineral exploration and mining operations must be socially responsible and environmentally friendly, avoiding adverse effects and protecting local communities’ interest in order to ensure that such national investment in this sector achieves highest socio-economic outputs.
This is for the first time that the country established such detailed and comprehensive sets of regulations. Many intensive consultations with all key stakeholders were carried out to make this regulation harmonized with other relevant legislation, including not only fiscal and environmental legislation but also other legal texts applicable to economic activity such as foreign investment laws, labor laws and the general tax code. The sub-decree has outlined mechanism and process for institutional coordination and land-use management with other sectors such as agriculture, forestry, urban development, land economic concession, etc. It sets a clear framework for the role of the competent bodies of local government, for civil society and local communities to engage in the sector planning and implementation and to ensure compliance with health, safety, and environmental (HSE) requirements related to all mineral operations.
The sub-decree also sets authorities and procedures by which the government allocates mineral rights along with the rights and obligations of both the license holder and the government; clear, transparent, competitive, and non-discretionary procedures for issuing exploration and mining rights. It is expected that this new regime will strongly enhance the current sector investment environment by establishing sector transparent governance system and assurance to a mineral exploration license holder of security of tenure which includes issues relating to development rights, assignment rights, and retention rights.
Full text of the subdecree in khmer language can be download here