By The Nation
Bangkok, Thailand, December 14, 2016
THE National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday exercised its absolute power to tackle conflict and alleged impacts caused by gold mines by ordering them to suspend operations from January 1, 2017.
NCPO chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha exercised the special power under Article 44 of Interim Charter to issue order 72/2559 to tackle problems allegedly linked to gold mines. The order will suspend the operation of mines and restrict related agencies from issuing or renewing gold exploration concessions, mining concessions, and metallurgy permits from January 1, till a national mining commission is set up and able to make other decisions.
Although mines have to suspend operating, they still have a duty to rehabilitate mining areas as per Environmental Impact Assessments. If gold mines do not comply with this order, their bosses could face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to Bt20,000.
The order called on the Industry and Natural Resources and Environment ministries to oversee responsibility for environmental restoration.