THE Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has approved the certificate of registration for Mesco Gold’s Phum Syarung gold mine in Ratanakiri Province. With the process endorsed by Cambodia’s leaders, issuing of the full mining licence will now be completed by the Minister of Mines and Energy (MME).

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One of three adits at the Phum Syarung gold mine in northeast Cambodia.

The CDC consists of all 26 Ministries in Cambodia and is chaired by the Prime Minister. Senior Minister HE Ly Thuch said, “This represents a major step in developing the resources of Cambodia that will bring value to the entire country. Taxes and royalties from this mine will contribute to health care, education and poverty reduction.”

Angkor Gold has a JV agreement with Mesco covering Angkor’s Oyadao North concession which is near Phum Syarung, as well as a net smelter royalty covering the mine. Of the approval, Angkor CEO Mike Weeks said, “A milestone in Cambodia, this first commercial underground mining licence has undergone significant scrutiny and review as Ministries in Cambodia strive to implement internationally recognised best practices for the mining sector.

“The timeframe from exploration and proving economic quantity through to licensing has been approximately five years, which is remarkable given the 15-20 year averages experienced in many international mining jurisdictions. The development time in Cambodia makes Mesco’s Phum Syarung mine a huge success by my estimation.”

“We look forward to a final approval of the mining licence by the Minister of Mines and Energy,” said Angkor’s VP of operations John-Paul Dau. “Many international investors and sector participants have been eagerly awaiting these final steps towards building a viable and productive mining sector in Cambodia.”

Angkor recently announced a brokered private placement aimed at raising C$1.5 million. The company engaged Gravitas Securities to complete the placement to fund Angkor’s operations and exploration activities with respect to its licence package covering 1352sqkm across six licences in northeast Cambodia.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Gravitas team,” said Mike Weeks. “Their previous successes with other companies gave us the confidence that they were the right partner for Angkor, and we are excited by the extensive strategic network they bring to the table.”

The company intends to use the net proceeds to fund acquisition of new land tenements, the 2016-17 work season with a primary focus on Andong Meas and Koan Nheak tenements, and general working capital.

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