Akara Gold ordered to close all Thai gold mine operations over health and environmental concerns
The Thai Ministry of Industry has ordered the Akara Gold’s Chatree Mining Complex to shut down all operations by the end of the year, following a ‘public outcry’ over levels of arsenic and manganese affecting the local environment.
Owned byKingsgate Consolidated subsidary Akara Resources, the Chatree Mining Complex is the largest gold mine operation in Thailand, producing up to 130,000 ounces of gold annually.
Allegations of substantial damage to the environment, detrimental impacts on workers’ health and contamination of the local village have dogged the Chatree Mining Comlex for some time, something the Government believes “outweighs its economic benefit”.
"Akara has to shut down the mine and rehabilitate the area," a statement from the Ministry of Industry said.
"Even though there is no clear conclusion that the environmental and health impacts came from the Akara gold mine, [we made this decision] for the benefit of society and to solve conflict between people.”
The Chatree mine has generated around 52million baht ($1.5billion) in revenue over its 15 years of operation.
Chatree Mining Complex employs more than 1,000 workers who will be assisted by the Government in rehabilitation following the closure of the mine.
In a statement issued by Akara Resources, the company said it will be seeking legal advice as to its position as well as protecting its employees.
Operations have been confirmed to continue until the end of 2016 so that all minerals and resources currently in process can be used.
Read the May 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
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Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
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Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
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