SIDNEY – Kingsgate’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Foulis of Australian mining company Kingsgate Consolidated said they will seek compensation from Thailand’s military Government over the closure of a goldmine last year.
The company said efforts to negotiate had been snubbed by Thai officials and alleged the shutdown breached a free trade agreement designed to protect Australian investors.
“Over the past 11 months, Kingsgate has made sustained, good faith efforts to engage with the Thai Government,” Greg Foulis said.
“These efforts included numerous unanswered requests for meetings with Thailand’s Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet.
“Regrettably, Kingsgate has now reached a position where it believes that the only option to resolve the situation is to exercise its rights as a protected Australian investor under TAFTA (Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement).”
Kingsgate said it will seek “a range of remedies, including compensation”.
The Chatree goldmine, 280 kilometres north of Bangkok, was closed on December 31, with the Thai government saying debate about environmental impacts was causing conflict in the community.
Local activists alleged the mine was causing elevated levels of arsenic and manganese, leading to sickness.
The Australian company rejected the claim, saying extensive testing has shown levels of the naturally-occurring toxins to be similar to other provinces in Thailand.
Thailand has struggled with investor confidence, since the military took over in a 2014 coup, ousting the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.
On Monday, Kingsgate formally notified the military Government it wishes to start consultations, required by the free trade agreement, which could take three months.
After that, international arbitration is possible, the company said.
By Liam Cochrane – ABC