Conservationists express concern of sand dredging resumption

Local conservationists have expressed concern that sand dredging operation may be resumed in the Tatai wildlife sanctuary as an excavator, machine parts and metal structures have been sighted on islands in the Tatai river in Cambodia's Koh Kong province, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Wednesday.

Mother Nature activist Lim Kimsor, on Friday, photographed metallic structures being erected on Koh Smach island along with large metal objects that resemble machine parts.

Leak Sopheap, a community leader from nearby Koh Srolav village said that representatives of a consulting firm called CES Co., Ltd visited the village to interview locals about their lives and their dependence on fisheries.

He said the visitors did not say who they represented or that a new dredging project was to be launched.

Ministry of Mines and Energy secretary of state Meng Saktheara said no dredging license had been issued since the suspension of sand exports late last year although several companies had shown interest in the area.

He said the Tatai river sand is more suitable for land reclamation than construction, meaning it would likely be slated for exports to Singapore.

Saktheara said he suspected SCTWN was preparing the dredging venture as it was the only company that tried to obtain the license.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)