The Ministry of Mines and Energy collected approximately $3.5 million in non-tax revenue from the extraction industry during the first six months of the year—about 92 percent of what it collected from the sector in all of 2014, ministry spokesman Meng Saktheara said Tuesday.
Mr. Saktheara, a secretary of state at the ministry, predicted that the second half of 2015 would see similar non-tax revenue from mining and dredging firms, resulting in roughly $7 million by the end of this year, compared to $3.8 million at the end of last year.
He said that non-tax revenue was collected through licensing fees, royalties, land leases and penalties—such as those incurred by companies since Prime Minister Hun Sen made the ministry the sole body in charge of granting sand dredging licenses in March, in an attempt to reign in haphazard extraction blamed for riverbank collapses.
“The elimination of anarchic mining, including sand dredging, strengthening penalty collections and requiring mining companies to carry out [monthly] declarations of their business statuses” had all contributed to the increase in revenue this year, he said.
Kim Natacha, executive director of Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency, a local NGO, said the ministry’s prediction that it would collect $7 million in non-tax revenue from the industry this year was reasonable.
Since the transfer of licensing responsibilities in March, Ms. Natacha said, she had noticed officials regularly inspecting companies in the provinces.
“I believe that they have encouraged the mining firms to pay royalties and other non-tax fees regularly, so I think that the projection can be reached,” she said, adding that she could not predict whether revenue would continue to increase, or plateau, as stricter enforcement continues.