MONDAY, April 15, 2024
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Phichit to turn Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track

Phichit to turn Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track

Part of Akara Gold Mine in Phichit’s Thap Khlo district is being eyed for development as the province’s new mountain bike arena, which will also double as a training centre of international standard for the national team’s athletes.

General Decha Hemkrasri, president of the Thai Cycling Association, said on Tuesday that the association aims to promote Phichit, a province in the lower northern region, as Thailand’s centre for cycling-related sports.

In collaboration with the Asean Cycling Federation (ACF), the province has built a bicycle track around Beung Si Fai, Phichit’s largest freshwater lake in Muang district, he said.

Phichit to turn Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track

The track will be used for the first leg of the Thailand Open 2024 mountain bike tournament in the road racing programme, which is being held on December 2-3.

Decha, who also chairs the ACF, added that the association has invited experts from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to survey the new track and evaluate the possibility of using it for UCI’s future BMX (bicycle motocross) tournaments.

Phichit to turn Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track

As for downhill and cross-country tournaments for mountain bikes, Pradit Phataraprasit, Phichit MP and honorary advisor of the Provincial Administration Organisation, said that the province is targeting turning a newly developed zone within the Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track and a training centre for Thai athletes.

The development of the new track on an unused area within the gold mine is expected to be completed in time for the 5th leg of the Thailand Mountain Bike Championship 2024 scheduled for June 28-30.

The area, located near a heart-shaped swamp, is also suitable for further development as a future tourist attraction, Pradit said.

Phichit to turn Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track

Decha added that identifying a location that is suitable for building downhill and cross-country tracks to UCI standards is rare, and Phichit is lucky to have one at the gold mine.

He added that Thailand is also planning to build a mountain bike track for the eliminator programme, which is expected to be included as a discipline in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Phichit to turn Akara Gold Mine into a mountain bike track

The Chatree Gold Mine, aka Akara Gold Mine, was shut down in January 2017 by then Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, citing pollution and environmental damage caused by the mine.

This triggered an international arbitration lawsuit between concessionaire Kingsgate Consolidated and the Thai government. Thailand stands to pay over 25 billion baht in compensation if it loses the case.

To mitigate losses, the government agreed to let Akara Resources, previously Akara Mining, resume operations in March 2023.

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