Kingsgate’s gold mine given clearance to restart operations

1 March 2015 (Last Updated March 1st, 2015 18:30)

Thailand's Government has cleared the country's lone gold mine to restart following its closure in January over contamination concerns.

Thailand's Government has cleared the country's lone gold mine to restart following its closure in January over contaminations concerns.

Kingsgate and its Thai subsidiary Akara Resources operate the Chatree gold mine located in central Thailand.

Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines has given approval to resume the gold-mining operations.

Villagers living close to the mine opposed the restart of the mine, and complained that it was polluting the environment and affecting their health.

"Kingsgate has been working closely with the Thai authorities and the local community and has satisfied all their requests around the issue of slightly elevated arsenic and manganese levels identified in some local inhabitants during regular screening."

Kingsgate Consolidated executive chairman Ross Smyth-Kirk said in a statement: "Kingsgate has been working closely with the Thai authorities and the local community and has satisfied all their requests around the issue of slightly elevated arsenic and manganese levels identified in some local inhabitants during regular screening.

"This has included health checks and lifestyle education programs with a commitment to continue to assist with ongoing management of this community health issue."

Earlier Kingsgate was verbally informed to resume mining, but the company was awaiting formal clearance.

Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines director-general Surapong Chiengtong told Reuters: "It is allowed to open.

"The official letter will be issued today and once that is received, then mining can resume."

The mine was ordered for temporary shut down following random urine and blood tests that showed above-standard arsenic and manganese levels in villagers near the mine.

Kingsgate denied the claims saying that the mine was not responsible for any of them present in the area and said it independent experts from local universities will be in place to carry out tests on the villagers.

Chatree mine commercial operations in November 2001 and has produced more than 1.3 million ounces of gold and in excess of 5.8 million oz of silver as at June 2013.

The Chatree Mining Complex is comprised of the original Chatree South operation and Chatree North, which began production in November 2008 and its annual ore processing capacity has been increased from a nameplate capacity of 1mtpa in 2001, to the current capacity of 6.2mtpa.