By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Somchai Ameen, said yesterday the Civil Court had accepted the class-action case involving more than 6,000 people who live near the Chatree gold mine in two tambons of Phichit and Phetchabun.
The suit demands compensation from the company, as the plaintiffs claimed the people’s health has been harmed by the environmental impacts from the gold mine.
Somchai said after suing Akara in 2016 and litigating whether it constituted a class-action case for more than a year, he was glad the court had finally accepted the class-action status. The defendant has seven days to appeal before the court proceeds with the case.
“This case can be a benchmark for class-action lawsuits on environmental issues, as all people who are affected can sue for compensation for damage suffered, without having to directly engage in litigation,” he said.
He said the representative of the affected people was Thanyarat Sinthonthammathat. The names of 300 affected people were presented to the court. Many local people had become sick from prolonged exposure to heavy metals, he added.
He added that a recent report by Naresuan University, which confirmed the leakage of water from the gold mine’s tailing storage facility to the environment, would be prominent evidence in the case.
Thanyarat said she would demand compensation of Bt1.5 million for herself, while the total sum demanded from Akara was about Bt500 million.
As of press time, Akara had not commented on the class-action case.