via Khmer NZ
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins
LONDON-based Intertek Testing Services has expanded its Cambodian business to better target the Kingdom’s growing oil, mining and agriculture sectors.
The company provides independent verification of the quality of goods – including mineral samples – and reviews facility safety standards, for reasons that could include satisfying members of a joint venture of a project’s quality level.
Company officials said yesterday that its new Phnom Penh office in the Hong Kong Centre on Sothearos Boulevard would help to take advantage of business opportunities in the three sectors.
“At this point we are only opening an office to support requests,” said Intertek Marketing Communications Manager Adrian Ho yesterday.
But further expansion is being considered.
The lack of a laboratory to assay mineral samples has been highlighted by mining insiders as one hurdle for the Kingdom’s nascent industry.
Adrian Ho said opening a laboratory in Cambodia was one of the firm’s “future plans”.
Australian miner Southern Gold – which last week announced a high grade gold discovery in Kratie province – has in the past exported its mineral samples abroad for testing, according to Cambodia General Manager Grant Thomas.
The firm presently uses Intertek to analyse many of its samples abroad, contributing to higher costs for shipping.
“It would be a benefit to have a laboratory [in Cambodia],” he said.
He said a number of companies, including ALS in Laos and Swiss firm SGS SA’s Vietnam offices, were in competition with Intertek for analysing mineral samples in the region.
Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem in May raised the need to establish a laboratory in Cambodia as “an essential point” for the development of Cambodia’s mining sector.
He said at the United Nations Development Programme’s mining conference that the lack of a laboratory in Cambodia resulted in all mineral samples being sent abroad for analysis.
“[This] costs time and money in addition to complicating procedures in administrative arrangements for having samples analysed abroad,” he said in May.
Intertek was established in Cambodia in 2003, but its new office represents a push towards extractive industries and agriculture, its Cambodia Oil, Chemical, Agri and Mineral Manager Loeung Rotha said yesterday.
“Our business is already profitable here,” he said.