Gold mining firm calls on PM to allow it to operate

Gold mining firm calls on PM to allow it to operate

Workers of the gold mining firm Akara Resources Plc and residents living around its mining areas carry banners while they gather at the Phichit provincial hall on Thursday to call on the government to allow the company to stay in business. (Photo by Sitthipoj Kebui)
Workers of the gold mining firm Akara Resources Plc and residents living around its mining areas carry banners while they gather at the Phichit provincial hall on Thursday to call on the government to allow the company to stay in business. (Photo by Sitthipoj Kebui)

PHICHIT - Akara Resources Plc, a gold mine operator, on Thursday mobilised thousands of workers and residents living around its mining areas to gather at the provincial hall to call on the government to allow it to stay in business.

The miner’s move came after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced last week that gold mining nationwide would cease by the end of this year following complaints about health and environmental impacts.

Over 4,000 workers and residents from 29 villages in Phichit, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun provinces met at the Phichit provincial hall on Thursday. They were led by Akara's corporate affairs chief Cherdsak Utha-aroon

A source said the firm set up a stage at the venue, with two worker leaders Yuth Srithongsuk and Surachart Munsamai taking turns  to attack activists and academics for allegedly giving biased reports about the mining operation.

The worker leaders accused opponents of giving false information that water and vegetables grown in areas near the mining areas in tambon Khao Jedluk in Phichit’s Thap Khlo district were contaminated. 

They said non-governmental organisation activists who were outsiders had put gold mining in a negative light by claiming that local residents fell ill due to the mining operation.

They said the gold miner spent 250-300 million a month or about 3 billion baht a year to hire local residents in Thap Khlo district and the closure of the mine would cause over 2,000 workers to lose their jobs. Their family members would also be affected, they added.

After the two-hour gathering, the group sent representatives to submit a petition to Phichit deputy governor Phitsanu Senawin, who will forward it to the prime minister.


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