Manushya Foundation

Free trade agreements: Corporate greed makes the right to water of Phichit villagers a distant reality

In Central Thailand’s Phichit province, a group of villagers resisted a gold mine that polluted their water and destroyed their livelihoods and health for almost 20 years. When the Chatree Goldmining Complex was finally closed in 2017, the villagers had one goal left: to get justice and fair compensation for the damages caused by Akara Resources, a Thai subsidiary of Australian company Kingsgate. In a cynical development the company decided to bring Thailand to arbitration under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement, claiming the Thai government expropriated the gold mine and leaving Phichit villagers to fear for their future. After five years of arbitration, the military-backed government of Prayut Chan-o-cha decided to put profit above people and the planet and renewed four licences to Kingsgate, allowing it to re-open the Chatree complex. Meanwhile villagers are still yet to receive compensation for the environmental, physical and emotional harm they have suffered over the past 20 years. 

Member in the Spotlight: Manushya Foundation | The community-led class action lawsuit fighting gold-mining in Phichit, Thailand

In central Thailand's Phichit and Phetchabun provinces, over 6,000 villagers are severely affected by the goldmining operations of Akara Resources Public Company Limited, the Thai subsidiary of the Australian company Kingsgate Consolidated Limited. In 2001, the company started its commercial mining operations at the Chatree Goldmining Complex - just 300 meters from where the communities live. The communities are Thai citizens who have lived in the area for generations. They primarily make a living through farming and are dependent on the area’s natural resources, such as water and land. However, since Akara started its operations, villagers experienced adverse impacts to their livelihoods and environment. Their fundamental human rights have been violated.