Best Practice in Extractive Industry Development
The seven villages of Teun commune in Ratanakiri are rich in natural resources and inhabited by indigenous people from the Kreung ethnic group. Their livelihoods depend heavily on upland agricultural cultivation and the collection of non-timber forest products.
This commune happens to be located in one of the mining concession sites of Angkor Gold Corp, a Canadian company which is exploring for gold in the area.
DPA has previously raised community awareness of mining impact and revenues for three villages in Teun and established three Community Mining Focal Points (CMFPs) (two women), supporting the communities to carry out their own investigation, monitoring and advocacy activities.
To further this, on 13 March 2013 DEAP-EISEI and Provincial Network on Extractive Industry Social and Environmental Impacts (PNEISEI) network members in Ratanakiri province facilitated a discussion meeting between the community and representatives of Angkor Gold Corp Company. The meeting consisted of 40 participants (eight women) and included community members, village chiefs and commune councillors were joined by company representatives to discuss the company’s exploration plan in Tuen commune, examine community concerns and consider how the company will share benefits with the community in Tuen. As a result of the meeting, the company made commitments such as promising to employ villagers with good conditions and working environment when the company started their exploration activities in Tuen.
In November 2013, DPA followed up with CMFPs and villagers who were employed by the company, visiting the primary school which has been prepared by Angkor Gold Corp in Teun village.
Mr. Sol Ping, 48, live in Teun village, said “I have been employed by Angkor Gold Corp for six months to collect land samples. I have observed that the company has a good safety policy and I was offered good working conditions in terms of food, working hours and a place to rest.”
Ping explained the benefits he received as part of his employment. “Normally, the company’s car came to collect us in the early morning around 6 or 7 AM, and brought us back by 5 PM. I received 40,000 riel (USD $10) per day”.
However, beside other Tuen village, there also complaint from villagers in Peak village, Yatong commune, O’Ya Dav district. Mr. Sev Houth, a community representative, said “our villagers are very much concerns about the loss of our land and forest, since we have experienced with the previous company, it is therefore, we have proposed to have contract with Angkor Gold in order to minimise concerns, however, so far we did not get positive respond from company yet.”
Mr. Sarch Vorng, one of DPA’s CMFPs, added “Up until now, our community members have not had any conflicts or impacts from Angkor Gold Corp development, as the company has consulted with community members prior to and during their work in our community areas. The company has organised two meetings with our community already.” He continued, “However, our community requests that as the company also uses our village road, that they will repair this road for us once they close their activities in our area.”
To make an example of their good practice, in December 2013, four Angkor Gold Corp staff attended s public forum on Free Prior Informed Consent in EIA and CSR, organised by DEAP-EISEI and PNEISEI in Ratanakiri, to present on Company exploration activities in Ratanakiri province and community development projects. Mr. Sonin, of Angkor Gold Corp, summarised their community development activities. “The company has constructed 20 water wells in 16 communities, is supporting eight health centres in Ratanakiri and Pursat provinces, provided an ambulance for the Ratanakiri hospital, and is supporting communities in agriculture production and health care.” It is hoped that other company’s will follow suit by engaging with communities.
DPA is implementing projects dealing with extractive industry impacts in order to achieve a just, equitable and democratic Cambodia. This is achieved through strengthening the capacity and rights of DPA staff, partner organisation staff and vulnerable stakeholders, including target communities, through advocacy initiatives and education.