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THURSDAY, October 06, 2022
Thailand hands Akara 10-year licence for dispute-hit Chatree gold mine

Thailand hands Akara 10-year licence for dispute-hit Chatree gold mine

TUESDAY, January 25, 2022

The Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM) on Monday renewed Akara Resources Plc's concession to operate Thailand’s largest gold mine for another 10 years.

Four licences to operate at the Chatree mine – which straddles the border between Phetchabun and Pichit, 350 kilometres north of Bangkok – have been extended until December 29, 2031.

The mine was closed in January 2017 by a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Article 44 decree, which cited locals’ complaints of pollution and environmental damage. The closure order triggered a battle with Akara’s parent company Kingsgate Consolidated of Australia, with an arbitration ruling due at the end of this month.

However, with Thailand set to pay over 25 billion baht in compensation if it loses the case, the government recently agreed to allow Akara to resume operations at the mine.

Akara Resources has been told to operate its business strictly in line with Thai laws and regulations, DPIM director-general Nirun Yingmahisaranon said.

The company has also been instructed to hire residents living near mining areas to generate revenue for local communities, he added.

"Also, Akara Resources Plc has been instructed to protect the environment and health of residents so it can coexist with local communities and society," he said.

The concession extension was aimed to ensure that Thailand could produce enough of its own gold and silver, boosting the economy and quality of life amid the Covid-19 crisis, he added.