The Thai Ministry of Industry has ordered the Akara Gold’s Chatree Mining Complex to shut down all operations by the end of the year, following a ‘public outcry’ over levels of arsenic and manganese affecting the local environment.
Owned byKingsgate Consolidated subsidary Akara Resources, the Chatree Mining Complex is the largest gold mine operation in Thailand, producing up to 130,000 ounces of gold annually.
Allegations of substantial damage to the environment, detrimental impacts on workers’ health and contamination of the local village have dogged the Chatree Mining Comlex for some time, something the Government believes “outweighs its economic benefit”.
"Akara has to shut down the mine and rehabilitate the area," a statement from the Ministry of Industry said.
"Even though there is no clear conclusion that the environmental and health impacts came from the Akara gold mine, [we made this decision] for the benefit of society and to solve conflict between people.”
The Chatree mine has generated around 52million baht ($1.5billion) in revenue over its 15 years of operation.
Chatree Mining Complex employs more than 1,000 workers who will be assisted by the Government in rehabilitation following the closure of the mine.
In a statement issued by Akara Resources, the company said it will be seeking legal advice as to its position as well as protecting its employees.
Operations have been confirmed to continue until the end of 2016 so that all minerals and resources currently in process can be used.
Read the May 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine