Goodbye to Thailand's biggest gold mine

Goodbye to Thailand's biggest gold mine

Akara Resources' Chatree gold mine has brought constant complaints of poisoning and illness from nearby communities in Phichit, although the mining firm claims its facilities are up to international standards. (Photo courtesy LotusHall Mining Heavy Engineering Construction Co)
Akara Resources' Chatree gold mine has brought constant complaints of poisoning and illness from nearby communities in Phichit, although the mining firm claims its facilities are up to international standards. (Photo courtesy LotusHall Mining Heavy Engineering Construction Co)

After health & environmental problems, Section 44 order stops gold mining from Jan 1. 1,004 workers lose jobs.


Goodbye to Thailand's biggest gold mine

Mining company lays off over 1,000 workers
Apinya Wipatayotin, Achara Ashayagachat & AP

Thailand's biggest gold mine is closing from January 1st next year.

The company will lay off more than 1,000 workers.

The closing comes in response to the regime's latest Section 44 order to suspend operations of all gold mines (read previous articles here & here).

The gold mine of Akara Resources Plc where Phetchabun and Phichit provinces adjoin (photo by Thiti Wannamontha)


The gold mine is the Chatree mining complex in Phichit operated by the Australian company Akara Resources.

The company is a subsidiary of Sydney-based Kingsgate.

The company's gold mining concession at the site would have expired in 2028.


Following the order, some 1,004 employees have received lay off letters with a compensation package of up to 300 days' pay for those who have been with the company for at least 10 years.

A company source said most of those who were laid off are locals who were hired to work at the gold mining site.

Meanwhile, some office workers such as accounting and mining rehabilitating staff remained employed.

This Australian-controlled Chatree gold mine in Phichit province, owned through its Thai subsidiary Akara Resources, is shutting down, firing 1,000 Thais and moving to Chile, 'a government that understands mining.


The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday exercised his power under Section 44 of the interim charter to issue an order to suspend gold mine operations from Jan 1.

The order also stops authorities from issuing and renewing gold mine exploration or concession licences.

According to the order, the move aimed to tackle conflicts between residents and gold mine operators, and the environmental and health problems linked to gold mine operations in various areas.

The order also requires the ministry responsible to examine the problems and propose measures to tackle them as well as a coming up with a plan for managing gold resources. It also assigns the Labour Ministry to help workers affected by the order.

The cabinet previously suspended moves to renew the company's metallurgical processing licence citing conflicts with the locals living near the mining site who said its activities have damaged their health and the environment.

However, to limit its impact, the cabinet allowed production to carry on until the end of this year.

The biggest factor in closing Chatree was public pressure, such as this protest in May of last year claiming numerous villagers had become sickened by the mine operations. (Bangkok Post file photo)


The company said it had always done everything legally and insisted its operations had not damaged the environment or residents' health.

Kingsgate said it will not return to Thailand without an "ironclad guarantee" from the government that it will be allowed to operate without interruption.

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) passed legislation last week that could allow mining with a lesser degree of regulation.

But Kingsgate executives said they are once bitten, twice shy.

"We'd need an ironclad guarantee of tenure," Ross Smyth-Kirk, chairman of Kingsgate, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"It's been a disgrace. There's still a lot of gold there still to be taken out, needing expertise of people like ourselves who are prepared to spend big investments to get it out. It's not some tin-pot operation."


He said Kingsgate is planning a new mine in Chile, and hopes to launch operations there after they finish paying off their debt, which now stands at about $10 million, by the end of the year.

"Chile has a government that understands mining and that understands its importance to the economy," Smyth-Kirk said. "We'll see how negotiations go."


Jatuporn Buruspat, chief of the Pollution Control Department, said staff would consider how to rehabilitate the gold mining site.

He said the issue needs to be discussed with state agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Public Health, adding the rehabilitation process must be carried out together with the company.

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  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
  • aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
  • charter: a constitution - รัฐธรรมนูญ
  • cite: to mention something as an example - กล่าวถึง
  • coming up with: suggesting or thinking of an idea or plan - คิดขึ้นมา
  • compensation: money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - เงินชดเชย
  • complex: an area that has several parts - พื้นที่ประกอบด้วยส่วนต่าง ๆ
  • concession: a right that is given to a person or group to do a particular activity - สัมปทาน
  • conflict: an angry disagreement between people or groups - ความขัดแย้ง
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • control: To exercise restraining or governing influence over; to check; to counteract; to restrain; to regulate; to govern; to overpower - จัดการ, ควบคุม
  • debt (noun): an amount of money that you owe - หนี้, นี้สิน
  • disgrace: something that is extremely bad or shocking - น่าสยดสยอง, ความเสื่อมเสีย, ความอัปยศ, การขายหน้า
  • employee: someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation - ลูกจ้าง
  • environmental: involving the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them - เกี่ยวกับสภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
  • examine: to look at somebody/something closely, to see if there is anything wrong or to find the cause of a problem - ตรวจ
  • executive: a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร
  • exercise: the use of your power, rights, or skills - การใช้
  • expertise: a high level of knowledge or skill - ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
  • expire: to come to an end or stop being in use - หมดอายุ
  • exploration: when you search and find out about something - การสำรวจ, การค้นหา
  • guarantee (noun): a promise or certainty that something is correct, will be done or will happen - คำรับรอง, การประกัน
  • health (noun): the condition of a person's body or mind - สุขภาพ, สภาพร่างกาย
  • hire: to pay someone to work for you - จ้าง
  • in response to: in reaction to something that has happened or been said - ตาม
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
  • interim: temporary and intended to be used or accepted until something permanent exists - ชั่วคราว
  • interruption: something that temporarily stops an activity or a situation; a time when an activity is stopped - การขัดจังหวะ, การหยุดชะงัก
  • interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์
  • investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน
  • ironclad: strong and cannot be changed -
  • issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
  • issue: to give or provide something official - แจกจ่าย
  • Labour Ministry (noun): (Ministry of Labour) a government body responsible for the oversight of labour administration and protection, skill development, the promotion of employment of people in Thailand - กระทรวงแรงงาน
  • laid off: when someone to lose their job, usually because there is not enough work for them to do - การปลดคนงาน
  • latest (adj): newest; most recent - ] ล่าสุด, See also: ทันสมัยที่สุด, เกิดหลังสุด
  • launch: starting something - การเริ่มต้น
  • lay off: to cause someone to lose their job - ปลดคนงาน
  • lay off: to cause someone to lose their job, usually because there is not enough work for them to do - การปลดคนงาน
  • legally: correct according to the law - ตามกฎหมาย
  • legislation: a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament - กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย
  • licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
  • local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
  • locals: people who live in a particular place - ชาวบ้าน
  • measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
  • metallurgical: dealing with metals and the science of metals -
  • mine: a deep hole or holes under the ground where minerals such as coal, gold, etc. are dug - เหมืองแร่
  • ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง
  • move (noun): action -
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (noun): The military-installed group ruling Thailand following the 2014 coup d'état - คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ
  • negotiations: formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement - การเจรจาต่อรอง
  • once bitten, twice shy: because you had a problem doing it in the past, you are very cautious about doing it again -
  • operation: an activity which is planned to achieve something - การดำเนินการ
  • operations: the activity or work done in an area of business or industry - ปฎิบัติการ
  • order (noun): something that somebody is told to do by somebody in authority - คำสั่ง
  • package: many goods or services sold together in one "package" -
  • pollution (noun): contaminated, when something has been made dirty, poisonous, unpleasant to see or smell and possibly dangerous to health - การทำให้เป็นมลพิษ, การทำให้สกปรก, ภาวะมลพิษ, สภาวะมลพิษ, มลภาวะเป็นพิษ, สภาพเป็นพิษ, ความสกปรก
  • power (noun): political control of a country or an area; having a lot of influence and authority to control people and situations - อำนาจ
  • previously: before -
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • propose: to suggest an idea for a group to consider - เสนอ
  • public health (noun): the health of all the people in a country, city or community and their health issues; also the name of a government department - การสาธารณสุข
  • Public Health Ministry (noun): the ministry that oversees and carries out the government national health policy - กระทรวงสาธารณสุข
  • regime: a government that controls a country, especially in a strict or unfair way - รัฐบาลที่ขึ้นมาปกครองโดยการยึดอำนาจ
  • regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ
  • rehabilitate: to return someone or something to a good or healthy condition, state or way of living - ฟื้นฟูสุขภาพ
  • rehabilitation: making a system, building, etc., suitable for use again, i.e., bringing it back to a good condition - การฟื้นฟูสภาพกิจการ
  • renew: to start something again - เริ่มใหม่
  • resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • resources: things such as water, coal, trees and oil that exist in nature and can be used by people - ทรัพยากร
  • responsible (adj): having a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ
  • section: any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน, ส่วนที่ตัดออก, ส่วนย่อย
  • site: a place where something is located - สถานที่
  • source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่ง
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • subsidiary: a company that is owned by a larger company - บริษัทลูก
  • suspend: to stop for a period of time - ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว
  • tackle: to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with a problem - จัดการกับปัญหา
  • tackle: to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with something - จัดการ, รับมือ
  • tenure: the period of time during which someone has an important job - ช่วงระยะเวลาที่ดำรงตำแหน่ง
  • tin-pot: cheap and of low quality -
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