6 found guilty of colluding over EIA

6 found guilty of colluding over EIA

A former senior state official and five other parties were found guilty of colluding to help a gold mining company avoid a mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) of its second tailings pond, the national anti-graft body said yesterday.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said it believes Somkiat Phuthongchaiyarit, a former director-general of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, and five others had a hand in the unlawful approval of a request by Akara Mining Co or Akara Resources Plc, to expand its second tailings pond and shift it to a new location without having to conduct an EIA, NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon said.

Mr Somkiat, along with state officials Sattjawut Nakniyom, Chat Hongthiamchan and Khanthasak Khaengraeng, were found guilty of dereliction of duty and serious disciplinary misconduct in connection with the EIA dodging case, Mr Worawit said.

However, the NACC found insufficient evidence to find the fifth suspect, Khamphu Khunarak, guilty.

Akara Mining Co and Pakon Sukhum, a former managing director of Akara Mining Co, the sixth and the seventh suspects of the investigation, were also found guilty of supporting and colluding with Messrs Somkiat, Sattjawut, Chat and Khanthasak, Mr Worawit said.

Akara Mining Co had changed the size and location of its second tailings pond after failing to acquire a plot of land it had earmarked in its previously EIA-approved construction plan, said Mr Worawit.

The mining company then sent a letter to the provincial industry office asking to change the construction plan and location of its second tailings pond, he said.

The mining company wanted the approval without having to submit a new EIA report, Mr Worawit said. The new tailings pond also was much larger at 1,351 rai, he said.

Based on previously uncovered evidence, the NACC said it is convinced this new pond contains cyanide and several other toxic chemicals used in gold mining, and it will have a negative impact on the environment, which is why the company did not want to conduct an EIA, he said.

The NACC is also convinced the four state officials intended to help Akara Mining Co secure permission to build a second tailings pond in time to continue its gold mining operations as soon as the first tailings pond was full, he said.

Their acts were seen as colluding in an unlawful activity that would possibly pose a threat to the environment and natural resources, he said.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (4)

Pentagon tracking Chinese spy balloon over US

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Thursday that it was tracking a Chinese spy balloon flying high over the United States that appeared to be surveilling highly sensitive nuclear weapons sites.

08:45

France arrests suspected Italian mafia killer after 16 years on run: Interpol

SAINT-ÉTIENNE, France: A convicted Italian killer, believed to belong to one of the country's most powerful mafia organisations, was arrested on Thursday in France after 16 years on the run, Interpol said.

08:45

EV battery excise tax to be reduced to 1%

A national committee on electronic vehicle policy, also known as the EV board, on Thursday agreed in principle on a proposal to lower the excise tax on EV batteries from the current 8% to just 1% while offering a 24-billion-baht subsidy to the EV battery-producing industry.

08:10