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Australian gold miner hit with Thai encroachment charge
NationalOct 15. 2020
By The Nation
Thai authorities will charge Akara Resources with encroaching on state forest, in the latest twist to a longstanding legal dispute with the Australian gold miner.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division on Thursday accused Akara’s Chatree gold mine of encroachment, unauthorised exploitation and destruction of more than 73 rai of public land in Phichit and Petchabun provinces.
The junta government shuttered the provinces’ Chatree mine – the largest gold pit in the country – on January 1, 2017 following allegations it was polluting the surrounding countryside.
Division chief Pol Maj-General Pitak Uthaitham said the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) had collected enough evidence to prosecute Akara under the Forest Act and Highway Act.
The DSI has also sent evidence to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) that illegal changes were made to Akara’s mining plan in order to benefit private companies in 2016.
A total of 15 new cases against Akara, based on evidence from the Royal Forest Department, will be forwarded to Central Investigation Police Headquarters, Pitak added.
He insisted that the cases would not affect ongoing arbitration talks between the Thai government and Akara.