Australian company to give up Thai gold mines, move to Chile

BANGKOK (AP) — An Australian mining company says it will shut down its gold mines in Thailand, lay off more than 1,000 workers and move to Chile unless it gets an "ironclad guarantee" from the government that it will be allowed to operate without interruptions.

Two government orders — stemming from environmental and health concerns — have forced Kingsgate to shut down its operations in Thailand. Recently, a sliver of hope emerged when the Thai parliament passed legislation that could allow mining to resume.

But Kingsgate executives say they are once bitten twice shy. 

Kingsgate chairman Ross Smyth-Kirk told The Associated Press "We'd need an ironclad guarantee of tenure."

He said Kingsgate is planning a new mine in Chile, and hopes to launch operations there by the end of the year.