Cambodia: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Cambodia
Overview of Resources
Industrial Minerals
Fossil Fuels


Welcome to Cambodia


Cambodia, with a total population of 14,952,665 as of July 2010, is located in Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The country mostly has a tropical climate and covers a total area of 181,035 km2.

The national flag of Cambodia.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook

Cambodia gained its independence from France in 1953. The country’s economy between 2004 and 2008 largely depended on the construction, tourism, garment and agricultural sectors.

Cambodia’s economic growth rate increased by about 10% each year between 2004 and 2008, but in 2009 the growth rate saw a decline because of the global recession. However, the country managed to improve its economic status in 2010 and 2011 mainly through its renewed exports and tourism sector. The country’s GDP as of 2011 was $33.89 billion.

Overview of Resources

Cambodia’s key natural resources include gemstones, gas, oil, phosphates, manganese, iron ore and timber.

In 2010, the country’s industrial mineral sector produced an increasing amount of crushed stone and sand and gravel. These minerals were consumed by the country’s construction industry, and limestone was consumed domestically for the production of cement.

Industrial Minerals

In 2010, an agreement was signed by the national company Chip Mong Group with Siam Thailand’s City Cement Plc. to construct a cement factory in Cambodia’s Province of Kampot. This new facility, that will be the country’s second cement factory, was estimated to produce 1 to 1.5 Mt of cement annually. The feasibility study of this new plant reached its final stage in 2011 and will be completed after a few months. A period of two years has been scheduled for the construction of this new plant.

The map of Cambodia. Image Credit: CIA Factbook


In 2010, a bauxite exploration program scheduled for two years was started by the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin).

In the same year, Australia’s Indochine Mining Ltd. started two copper and gold exploration projects in Cambodia. These projects were the Ratanakiri project in Rotanokiri and the Kratie project in Province of Kracheh.

The Okvau gold project in Cambodia identified a gold mineralized system within the tenement area. A number of Provinces in the eastern part of the country was considered to be suitable for the exploration of base metals and gold. Seven exploration licenses in these Provinces were owned by Southern Gold in 2010.

In 2010, Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL Group) was given the license to carry out exploration activities in one of Cambodia’s iron ore mines.

Fossil Fuels

The offshore oilfield Block A, located off the cost of Cambodia, was controlled by the Chevron Corp of the Unites States. Three exploration wells were drilled by the company, which unfortunately resulted in no proven reserves.

In 2010, JOGMEC and the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority signed an agreement to jointly operate the country’s oil and gas sector. As part of this agreement JOGMEC decided to discover oil reserves by surveying an area covering 6,500 km2 located in the Tonle Sap basin.


In 2010, Cambodia proved itself successful in developing a number of joint ventures with international companies that resulted in an increase in investments for the country’s mining sector. Some of the investors include Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, Japan and the United States.

Cambodia’s mining sector is confident about seeing tremendous improvements as recent reports highlight that the country is now totally focused on developing international businesses. To back this initiative, the government in 2011, passed anti-corruption laws highlighting its interest in cooperating with international partners.

Angkor Gold, Cambodia’s chief exploration company recently carried out drilling operations in the Oyado South tenement and discovered 16.65 g/t of gold along with silver, lead and copper.

With these foreign investments and increase in the mining activities, the government hopes to reduce the country’s dependence on imports. In 2010, experts strongly felt that the country’s mining activities will see a much brighter side in the coming years as a number of companies decided to conduct exploration activities by bringing in more investments and modernized technologies.

Based on these new discoveries and increasing foreign investments, Cambodia’s mining sector will likely experience a major development in the coming years. However, the government will also have to execute proper measures to monitor the mining activities in the country and manage its revenue effectively. All this put together will uplift the country’s mining sector in the coming years.

To experience further economic growth the government has highlighted its interest in developing the mining opportunities in Cambodia. Through these opportunities the government hopes to increase investments for its mining sector instead of just depending on other sectors to improve its economic status.

Disclaimer: The Author of this article does not imply any investment recommendation and some content is speculative in nature. The Author is not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned and all statistical information is publically available.


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