Re: “Activists petition DSI, premier in Akara gold mine case”, The Nation, November 20.
Get the locals involved! Of course, and now an attempt by the locals (government-sponsored no doubt) to raise the issue of alleged illegal land use by Akara.
The current administration has bungled badly. Attempts by Wissanu today to water the whole thing down will not save them here. Kingsgate are very determined and rightly so!
Yep, great plan. The matter is before international arbitration and these fools want to accelerate a local prosecution against the company. Let’s pass the gun around and shoot ourselves in the foot.
It is difficult to know in opaque Thailand if these activists are real environmentalists or if they are a proxy group funded by someone in the shadows who wishes to see the mine change owners.
Following a change in government in Thailand, it is common for concessionaires to be pushed aside.
The Nation: “Anti-gold-mining activists [urge] 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.”
Unlawful by whom – the Kingdom of Thailand?
Thailand provided legal use for the mining operations under the Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement and the resultant operating licence.
If Prayut now claims such use was illegal, that just gives Kingsgate another cause for compensation before the arbitration tribunal. Prayut has no authority to take the case to Thai courts, even with Article 44 to manipulate a favourable outcome.
The activists might suspect that Prayut gave up part of Thailand’s sovereignty with the ATFTA. That’s not a pleasant action from a military pledged to protect the sovereignty of the Kingdom.
After some uncomplimentary press coverage over the past few weeks, I suspect this action has been sponsored by the government to distract from what is alleged to be their treaty-breaching behaviour. What Prayut did was probably legal under the provisions of Article 44, but without a doubt breached international treaties which are not mitigated by subsequent local laws.
I hope the government is looking closely at how the case involving the construction of the Don Muang expressway ended. It was an embarrassing and costly exercise for Thailand. This case by Kingsgate will likely go the same way. It sends a very negative message to foreign investors. Thailand will simply continue to get revenue from low-end tourism – not a very sustainable strategy but what else do we expect? The country will never move forward until good governance is implemented. Don’t hold your breath.