‘Historic stain on Thailand’: Civil group slams Chatree gold mine reopening
A civil society group has called on Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam to explain why the government allowed Akara Resources Plc to resume operations at Chatree gold mine, calling the decision a historic stain on Thailand.
The Network of People for Reform of Mineral Resources spoke out after Wissanu said on January 26 the government had no objections to Kingsgate Consolidated, Akara’s parent company, reopening Thailand’s largest gold mine.
Kingsgate has informed the Australian Securities Exchange that it received four mining leases from the Thai government to resume operations at the mine.
Chatree gold mine was closed in January 2017 by an executive decree of the junta National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which cited pollution and environmental damage caused by the mine’s operations.
The closure order triggered a battle with Akara’s parent company Kingsgate Consolidated of Australia, with Thailand set to pay over 25 billion baht if it loses the case.
The government recently said the arbitration ruling has been postponed from the end of January, with no new date set.
The Network of People for Reform of Mineral Resources said that allowing Akara to resume mining at Chatree without waiting for the arbitration ruling violated the law and damaged Thailand.
"We urge Wissanu to clarify this case for Thai citizens because it affects the country's reputation and stability," the group said.
"The [government's] move, which shows no concern regarding damage done to the country, will be a historic stain on our nation," it added.