Extractive Industries Licensing and Payments in Cambodia

mining facility in Cambodia


The Kingdom of Cambodia is rich in mineral resources, which are defined by the Law on Mineral Resource Management and Exploitation (the “Law”) as “any substance, whether in solid, liquid or gaseous form, naturally originated by a geological process or as a result of mining in or on the land, or in or on the sea or seabed, including gemstones, coals, metal and non-metal mines, mineral water, rock, gravels, sand, clay, petroleum, and gas” . These resources are categorized into five groups:

  1. Metallic minerals
  2. Non-metallic/industrial minerals
  3. Gemstones and ornamental stones
  4. Solid fuel minerals
  5. Construction minerals

All mineral resources within Cambodia are state property, and unauthorized mining is illegal. The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) is responsible for licensing, managing, and inspecting mining operations to ensure legal compliance. The number of active licenses has grown significantly from 30 licenses (1994-2006) to 482 licenses by 2022 .

Mining Operations

Cambodia’s mining operations are divided into three stages as per the Law:

  1. Prospecting: Initial exploration of land surface with simple instruments to identify minerals or ores with commercial potential.
  2. Exploration: Detailed investigation using geological, geophysical, and geochemical surveys, including drilling and sample analysis, to assess resource viability.
  3. Exploitation: Extraction and processing of minerals for commercial purposes, regulated by Cambodian law regarding sale, export, and import of minerals and gemstones.

Mining Stages Overview

ProspectingPreliminary exploration with minimal ground disturbance to identify potential minerals.
ExplorationIn-depth surveys and analysis to determine resource extent, quality, and economic viability.
ExploitationFull-scale extraction, processing, and commercial distribution of minerals.
3 Stages of Mining

An interactive map detailing the locations of mining concessions in Cambodia provides insights into the mining landscape, including major foreign investment projects and resource potential indices.

A mining area in Cambodia

Licenses for Mineral Resources

Cambodia offers six categories of mining licenses to facilitate exploration and exploitation of its mineral resources :

  1. Artisanal Mining License: Issued to Khmer nationals for small-scale mining using basic tools. Valid for one year. The application process involves document verification and site inspection, with a service fee of 100,000 Riels . Service Fee (Riels) License fee 100,000 Document preparation 100,000 License registration 50,000
  2. Pits and Quarries Mining License: For the exploration and exploitation of construction and industrial minerals. Valid for two years. Fees vary based on material type . Material License Fee (Riels) Sand, Gravel, Laterite, Clay 10,000,000 Stone, Gypsum, Dimension Stones 20,000,000
  3. Gemstone Mining License: Issued for the mining of precious and semi-precious stones. Valid for one year. Fees depend on the scale of operations . Service Fee (Riels) Small-scale license 1,000,000 Large-scale license 15,000,000
  4. Mineral Transforming License: For transforming stones into finished products. Valid for three years. Fees vary with the size of the workforce . Workforce Size License Fee (Riels) < 7 persons 3,600,000 7-14 persons 7,200,000 > 14 persons 15,000,000
  5. Exploration License: For detailed mineral exploration. Valid for three years, with renewal options. Service fee is 20,000,000 Riels . Service Fee (Riels) License fee 20,000,000 Renewal 20,000,000 Transfer 100,000,000
  6. Industrial Mining License: Granted to exploration license holders for commercial mining. Valid for 21 years, renewable for two terms of 10 years each. Fees are scaled to operation size . Scale License Fee (Riels) Small-scale 1,000,000 Large-scale 50,000,000.
mining team

Summary of Fees

License TypeValidityInitial Fee (Riels)Renewal Fee (Riels)Transfer Fee (Riels)
Artisanal Mining1 year100,000N/AN/A
Pits and Quarries Mining2 years10,000,000 – 20,000,00020,000,00010,000,000 – 50,000,000
Gemstone Mining1 year1,000,000 – 15,000,000N/A50,000,000
Mineral Transforming3 years3,600,000 – 15,000,000N/A2,500,000 – 8,000,000
Exploration3 years20,000,00020,000,000100,000,000
Industrial Mining21 years1,000,000 – 50,000,00050,000,000200,000,000
Fee summaries


Cambodia’s mineral resources are extensive and varied, managed under a comprehensive legal framework that ensures state control and regulatory compliance. The increasing number of licenses reflects a growing interest in exploiting these resources, contributing to the country’s economic development.


1. The Royal Government of Cambodia, “Law on mineral resource management and exploitation,” 13 July 2001, accessed on 08 September 2023.

2. Chrea Vichett, “Current Situation of Mining Industry in Cambodia,” General Department of Mineral Resources of Cambodia, 06 March 2013, accessed on 12 September 2023.

3. University of Wisconsin–Madison, “Increasing transparency in the extractive industries in Cambodia,” 2023, accessed on 12 September 2023.

4. Ministry of Mines and Energy, “Information series on public service of Ministry of Mines and Energy 2016,” 2016, accessed on 08 September 2023.

5. Ministry of Mines and Energy, “Joint proclamation​​ no. 1451 on Ministry of Mines and Energy’s public service and penalty fee,” 2016, accessed on 08 September 2023.

6. Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, “Sub-Decree No. 72 on Management of Exploration and Industrial Mining License,” 11 August 1999, accessed on 08 September 2023.

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