- Kingsgate (KCN) subsidiary Akara Resources has reached another milestone as previously frosty relations with the Thai government continue to thaw
- The company has been granted 44 special mineral prospecting licences (SPLs) covering around 635 square kilometres in a positive step
- Relations between Akara and Thai authorities had been under a cloud due to allegations of bribery and corruption dating back as far as 2011
- However, settlement negotiations have put the relationship on a better footing, and the grant of the SPLs marks another breakthrough in the process
- The SPLs will expire in October 2025 and don't include any permissions for mining activities
- Kingsgate is up 10.45 per cent to 74 cents
Kingsgate (KCN) subsidiary Akara Resources has reached another small milestone as previously frosty relations with the Thai government continue to thaw.
The company has been granted 44 special mineral prospecting licences (SPLs) over 397,226 rais of land (around 635 square kilometres) in a positive step for Akara and its troubled relationship with Thai authorities.
Relations had been under a cloud due to allegations of bribery and corruption dating back as far as 2011.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had investigated allegations Kingsgate bribed Thai officials to obtain mining concessions in the country.
While ASIC dropped its probe in 2014, the Thai government shut down the Chatree gold mine — operated by Akara — in 2016 as allegations still swirled around potential corruption.
The Chatree shutdown prompted Kingsgate to start legal proceedings against the Thai government as relations continued to sour.
Further allegations in the Thai media and ongoing attention from the country's corruption watchdog made for tough going for Kingsgate and Akara, even as settlement negotiations have continued between the parties.
The first sign of thawing relations came in September when Akara was finally allowed to offload around $14 million worth of gold and silver "sludge" left over from the decommissioning of the Chatree mine.
Granting the prospecting licences marks a further evolution in the relationship.
The grant is subject to all relevant Thai mining laws, including landholder permissions and environmental bonding to cover any reclamation works.
A number of locals around the Chatree mine have expressed their support for the approval in a positive sign for Akara.
The SPLs do not, however, allow for any mining activities to take place on the granted lands.
The SPLs will last for five years, expiring in October 2025.
Kingsgate is up 10.45 per cent to 74 cents at 12:21 pm AEDT.