Thailand’s Government has lifted the suspension of Kingsgate Consolidated’s Chatree Gold Project, which permits the company to reapply for a mining licence. The mine closed late last year after a suspension imposed by the government due to health and environmental concerns.
Citing violations of the Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), Kingsgate then launched a claim against the government.
Representatives of the company were due to meet representatives of the Royal Thai Government to discuss a possible settlement of the claims but shortly before the meeting it was informed that the government had lifted the suspension.
The company was also informed that the application of its Thai subsidiary Akara Resources to renew its Metallurgical Processing Licence for Chatree, which expired on December 31, 2016, could now be processed.
In a subsequent statement Kingsgate’s executive chairman Ross Smyth-Kirk said, “However, it subsequently became clear that the Thai Government would not be offering any monetary compensation for the substantial losses that Kingsgate has already suffered as a result of the unlawful closure and expropriation of the Chatree Mine, nor for the substantial expenses that would be incurred in connection with restarting operations at Chatree (if an appropriate framework for doing so was able to be agreed with the Thai Government).
“Nevertheless, Kingsgate was informed that the Thai Government may be willing to provide other meaningful benefits in consideration of the shut-down of the mine.
“In light of the foregoing, the Kingsgate board has determined that it is in the interests of the company to further explore this matter, together with a number of other unresolved issues.
“Accordingly, Kingsgate has reserved its legal position under TAFTA and allowed a further limited period of dialogue with the Thai Government.”
The closure, which affected 1004 employees, was issued by the government under Section 44 of legislation to suspend gold mine operations from January 1, according to the Bangkok Post. Under the order, licences for new and existing exploration concessions could not be issued. The mine’s concessions were good until 2028.
The order was issued to address conflicts between Akara Resources and residents over environmental and health issues linked to the mine.
In 2015 authorities ordered a 44-day suspension of activities at Chatree after random urine and blood tests showed above-standard arsenic and manganese levels in people living close to the mine.