Chinese gold miners ‘illegally’ tearing up Cambodian wildlife sanctuary

An NGO report and complaints by villagers allege a Chinese company has been mining gold inside one of Cambodia’s largest protected areas years before it was license to do so.

“The company operates as they please. We’ve asked the authorities for help, but they won’t do anything for us,” said Bunnarith*, a lifelong resident of Snang An village in the densely forested province of Kampong Thom. “The people living in Snang An live here in misery.”

Nestled inside Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) inside the boundaries of the protected area, is a Chinese-owned gold mine to which Bunnarith can trace his misery.

On March 23, 2020, Late Cheng Mining Development was awarded an exploratory license spanning 15,100 hectares (37,300 acres) across Kampong Thom’s Sandan district, engulfing Snang An village.

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