Anti-gold-mining activists on Monday submitted a petition to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), urging the agency to accelerate the investigation and prosecution of Akara Resources in regard to the case of allegedly unlawful use of public land and a public road for its mining operations.
The activists, along with locals affected by the company’s gold mine in Phetchabun and Phichit provinces, visited DSI headquarters to monitor the progress of the DSI investigation into the Chatree gold mine and urged the agency to hasten its operations in the case, as well as to accept an alleged change to Akara’s gold-mining project plan as a new special case.
Wanpen Phromrangsan, an activist from Saraburi, emphasised that the DSI case could be the government’s trump card in the international arbitration proceedings pursued by Kingsgate Consolidated Limited, the Australian parent of Akara Resources.
On November 3, Kingsgate Consolidated announced the commencement of such proceedings against Thailand on the allegation that the government had violated the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement by issuing a closure order for the Chatree mine.
Wanpen cautioned that if the case were delayed, it would be to the Kingdom’s detriment.
She said that earlier on Monday morning the group had also submitted a petition to the prime minister to set up a special committee to monitor and accelerate the operations of the DSI and the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission in the corruption case against Akara Resources.
DSI spokesman Pol Maj-General Woranan Srilam commented that the DSI had accepted the matter as a special case in March 2016, and had since been continually investigating the alleged wrongdoings of the mining company.
However, he stressed that the case was very sensitive, as its outcome would have a great impact at the international level, hence the investigating officers had to be very careful in how they proceeded.
That said, it is expected that the investigation can be concluded by the end of March next year, he added.