An industry first as Canadian mineral exploration firm helps indigenous communities
Jose Rodriguez T. Senase Khmer Times Mon, November 29, 2021
Angkor Resources Corp., a Canadian company engaged in mineral and oil/gas exploration in the Kingdom, has reported that implementation of its industry-first, precedent-setting agreement with the indigenous Jarai communities in northeastern Cambodia is off to a ‘good start’.
The company reported the ongoing construction of a community and administration centre in Andong Meas district in Ratanakiri province. The building is one of the first collaborative projects under the agreement.
The Andong Meas (“well of gold” in the Khmer language) licence, which is 118 square kilometres on which the Jarai people have lived for decades, is one of five mineral licences that the company owns in Cambodia. In addition to its mineral concessions, Angkor Resources Corp is also involved in oil and gas exploration in Cambodia’s Kompong Som Basin.
Andong Meas is host to Angkor’s prospects of Canada Wall, Gossan Hills, Wild Boar, and South Creek. According to the company, members of the community have worked with them on numerous exploration campaigns there.
As part of the agreement, Angkor Resources Corp agreed to provide material support to the project, including roofing materials, cement, and furnishings for an office. The Jarai people, meanwhile, supply all the labour, and all local supplies like wood.
The centre, according to a media release from Angkor Resources Corp., was identified by the community as a priority to have an administrative venue as part of its goal to acquire its land titles from the Government of Cambodia and to administer their own internal micro-finance model to community members.
“This community/admin centre marks a starting point for the community as it protect itself from having their lands being depleted by land grabs or from misleading claims for portions of their lands unknowingly pledged by community members,” it said.
In May, Angkor Resources Corp and the Jarai people of Andong Meas signed a trail-blazing agreement that was hailed as a ‘cradle-to-grave model’ for mineral development in areas occupied by indigenous communities.
The agreement covers all facets of the mineral sector, from prospecting through development, production, and reclamation. “It is intended to align the parties so they work in parallel as they move both community and industry projects forward,” the company said.
Under the agreement, Angkor Resources Crop will also help communities meet their needs, which includes teaching community members basic recordkeeping, filing and administrative skills that will help them acquire independence and community strength.
Angkor Resources Corp. Chairman Mike Weeks said the projects are very important to these communities.
“These projects are so important to the status of a community when it is applying for autonomy like their community land titles. To date, this has been a very successful relationship and we are proud to set this example in the country,” said Weeks, who also spearheaded the negotiations that led to the agreement.
Jan Scazighino, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Canada Office in Cambodia, said the initiative is a win for everyone.
“Canada and Cambodia have important indigenous populations. I am so proud to see Angkor Resources working hard to help local Cambodian indigenous groups. Their approach seems to be a big win: for Cambodia, for indigenous groups here, for Canada, as well as for the environment,” he stressed.
SOURCE: Khmer Times, Cambodia Mon, November 29, 2021