Moves to sue Thailand over gold mine closures
31 May 2017: Australian company Kingsgate Consolidated is threatening to use the ISDS clause in the Thailand-Australia free trade agreement to sue Thailand after its government responded to community pollution concerns and ordered the closure of all goldmines, concluding the Kingsgate mine at Chatree.
The decision to close the mines was made after campaigning and protests by environmental and health groups after claims mine pollution had poisoned local people, livestock and crops.
The scenario appears similar to the infamous OceanaGold vs El Salvador lawsuit, which eventually ruled in favour of El Salvador but came at a great cost to the small and impoverished Central American nation.
It is another reminder that ISDS is increasingly being used by global corporations to challenge health, environment and other public interest laws, and should never be included in trade or investment agreements.