Activists oppose Akara permits

Activists oppose Akara permits

A group of about 30 activists on Wednesday demanded an explanation of the government's decision to extend Akara Resources Plc's licences for gold mining for another 10 years.

The company operated the Chatree gold mine, which sits on the borders of three provinces -- Phichit, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun.

The mine was ordered closed in 2017 by an executive decree of the now-dissolved National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) following villagers' complaints about health and environmental impacts.

Under the terms of reopening, the mining company will be allowed to resume mining if it can comply with stricter requirements under the amended Minerals Act 2017. The requirements cover four issues: the environment, land management, land-use permission and community health.

The earlier dispute had led to an international arbitration lawsuit between the company's parent, Australia's Kingsgate Consolidated, and the government over losses it claimed to have suffered as a result of the suspension. Thailand may ultimately be forced to pay more than 25 billion baht in compensation if it loses.

Submitting a petition to the House committee on law, justice and human rights, the group urged the committee to suspend the renewal of licences granted to the mining company, saying they were renewed unlawfully.

Later in the day, the civic group visited the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Justice.

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