Canadian Mining Company Social Star in Cambodia – by Valentin Schmid (Epoch Times – March 6, 2015)

Developing Cambodia’s commercial mining sector, Angkor Gold puts social responsibility first

They come and just rob the local people of their resources. Whether it’s North Dakota or Cambodia, that’s how most oil and mining companies are perceived to do business. Angkor Gold is different.

For the Canadian mining and exploration company operating in Eastern Cambodia, corporate social responsibility (CSR) comes before the first hole is drilled in the ground—and not just in the corporate presentation.

“It’s the right thing to do. To do nothing when we have some ability to help residents in a country where we are the foreigners,would be completely unacceptable. That’s the philosophy of our entire team,” says Delayne Weeks, VP of corporate social responsibility.

Other mining and oil companies only start a social program once they are sure they have an economically viable project, she says. Angkor started with their social programs from day one. They include schools for hundreds of students, a health center servicing 20,000 people, a farm, and countless smaller projects.

“We try to treat people the same way that we would like to be treated,” says Delayne Weeks. The company also makes a point of hiring local staff, who are very happy with the way Angkor, named after the famed archeological site near Siem Reap, conducts business in a country in dire need of help and vulnerable to exploitation.

Local Support
“I am very happy to work here because Angkor Gold is not just about the business; they also work with the people in the village. It’s the first company in Cambodia that thinks like this. The other companies only think about business,” says Ma Samath, who does geological field work for Angkor and also deals with the local people.

He says especially rubber plantation companies, many of which are from Vietnam and obtain land through corrupt means, could care less about Cambodia. “They go to the village, they start cutting the trees,” he says.

According to Samath, Angkor creates a dialogue with people early on, explaining to them what the company intends to do, basically asking permission from the villagers, and providing help from day one. “We are not cutting the trees, we are just doing the exploration, it is a long way to do the mining,” he says.

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