Agricultural Concessions in Cambodia, as of June 2007. (Click on the map)
Data does not include:
(1) 20 new concessions not yet disclosed publicly. AMC is adding some of these to an updated map, available soon.
(2) an unknown number of concessions with an area less than 100 sq.km.
Further note: company names may have changed, as they are based on limited available information.
Some Background on Concessions (repost)
Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) are massive tracts of rural Cambodia granted to private companies. Cambodia’s MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) maintains a list on its website of "current" land concessions granted to 58 companies that covers nearly one million hectares.
Even this staggering number is not the whole story! AltMapCambodia, is trying to get closer to the real picture, including half a million hectares of unofficial concessions. There are many more large unofficial concessions that we weren't able to obtain information on. Furthermore, the smaller ELCs of less than 1000 hectares can be granted at the provincial level and are also invisible to the public.
Why grant so many ELCs? To bring economic benefits, according to the Cambodian government. The MAFF website cites the benefits of intensive agriculture, such as rural employment, state revenues and investment dollars. It seems, however, that ELCs have brought economic benefits to only a small handful of well connected individuals - who were labelled the "kleptocratic elite" by the recent Global Witness report.
Moreover, many of these concessions are used as an excuse for logging native forests (circumventing forestry laws), or for land speculation. It is not surprising that ELCs have had little impact on economic growth or improved agricultural productivity, as noted by the World Bank's Cambodia Poverty assessment for 2006.
Perhaps the greatest harm of ELC’s is to rural Khmer who are forced off their land, often violently, and indigenous communities who loose access to the forests that support their livelihood. This adds up to human rights violations on a grand scale, as reported by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia in June 2007.
Mineral Concessions are granted to foreign or local mining companies for exploration and eventual exploitation. Information about mining concessions is limited to a severe lack of transparency at the highest levels of the Ministry of Industry, Mines & Energy (MIME). Even the World Bank has been caught unaware of certain pending concessions.
According to anonymous source, the only comprehensive map of mining concessions in Cambodia is kept on paper and pencil in the office of Minister Suy Sem. AMC has been unable to verify this claim.
Mineral deposits are controlled by foreign (Chinese and Korean) and local companies who have Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with MIME authorizing exploration. While some of these companies have begun illegal exploitation of these sites, many lack the companies lack the necessary resources to exploit the concessions, and have sought to form partnerships for exploitation with foreign investors, according to a report by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.
In practice, mining companies seem to pay little attention to operating standards, environmental laws, health and safety standards, or the needs of nearby communities. This is especially the case for small scale gold mining operations, according to Oxfam America. As the industry grows from its current small size into larger operations, we can only guess at what the consequences will be for Cambodia. There are particular concerns about the effects on indigenous communities, according to a report on Land and Natural Resource Alienation by Focus on Global South.
tag: cambodia, khmer, mining, map, concession