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Akara rejects Thai government report confirming leak from Chatree gold mine

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Akara rejects Thai government report confirming leak from Chatree gold mine

Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd.'s Thai subsidiary, Akara Resources PCL, rejected a government fact-finding committee's report that confirmed heavy metals leaked from its Chatree gold mine's first tailings storage facility, Thai newspaper The Nation reported July 30.

Akara, through a press release obtained by The Nation, said the finding was suspect as it did not receive a unanimous vote from committee members. It added that the research on which the report was based failed to meet academic standards and that most of the committee members did not possess expertise in the field.

Only seven members from official agencies voted in favor of the study; six representatives from local communities and the gold mine operator voted against it, and the remaining 52 members abstained, according to Akara.

The report, conducted by Naresuan University along with a team from two Japanese institutes, concluded that water from the tailings storage facility leaked into the environment as traces of unnatural heavy metal contamination were found in groundwater downstream from the facility.

Akara said it followed laws and regulations, and its operations did not harm the environment and health of local residents.

Thailand's Industry Ministry formed the committee in 2016 to investigate alleged environmental and health problems caused by Chatree, the country's largest gold mine, which was shut down that year. In response, Kingsgate in 2017 launched arbitration proceedings against the government over the mine closure.