Akara and Community Partners Aid Wat Sattasila-at School After Storm Damage

On 30 May 2024, Akara Resources Public Company Limited led by Mr. Cherdsak Utha-aroon, General Manager – Sustainability, along with executives and employees, offered financial aid from the Village Development Fund and other resources to Wat Sattasila-at School in Khao Chet Luk Subdistrict, Thap Khlo District, Phichit Province. The storm had significantly damaged the school’s roof, forcing 69 students to relocate their studies to Sala Thammasangwet, near the temple’s crematorium.

Mrs. Sunan Phrawong, the School Director, expressed gratitude saying that “Our school suffered heavy damage, requiring 69 students to temporarily relocate. The support from Akara and the community is invaluable in restoring normalcy for our students.”

Initial damage estimates by Phichit Primary Educational Service Area 2 were over 200,000 baht. Akara along with community partners has provided over 100,000 baht in emergency funds to expedite roof repairs.

Mr. Cherdsak emphasized, “We prioritize community participation and development, with 90% of our employees being local residents. When our community faces difficulties, we are committed to providing comprehensive support, because this is our home and we are one family.”

Akara Joins Hands with PMR and Ausiris Ushering Thailand into the Gold Hub in Southeast Asia, Passing on ‘Thai Value’ through Thai Gold by Thais for Thais

On 7 September 2023, Mr. Sumeth Prasongphongchai, Director of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), presided over the grand opening ceremony and embarked on an insightful visit to the captivating “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership booth within the 68th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) under the collaboration orchestrated by three key players: Akara Resources Public Company Limited, Precious Metal Refining Company Limited, and Ausiris Company Limited, with the vision of “Thai Gold for Thais.” For the second consecutive year, this partnership booth is shining brightly with its vision of “Thai Gold for Thais,” with this year’s goal being to pass on the essence of “Thai Value” through Thai gold to the world’s eyes. Simultaneously, it is driving a significant transformation of the gold supply chain, bringing it closer to the ultimate aspiration of becoming a quintessential gold value chain. Together, these industry leaders have their sights set on ushering Thailand into a new era, establishing the country as the preeminent gold hub of Southeast Asia.

At the “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership booth, Mr. Cherdsak Utha-aroon, General Manager – Sustainability, Akara Resources Public Company Limited; M.L. Paramaporn Devakula, General Manager of Precious Metal Refining Company Limited; and Mr. Boonlert Siripatvanich, Chief Executive Officer of Ausiris Company Limited, had the pleasure of welcoming and accompanying the Director during his visit. This provided an opportunity for the executives to share their visions regarding their respective companies’ roles within the alliance and discuss the potential benefits that this collaboration holds, not only for their individual organizations, but also for Thailand as a whole.

Akara Resources Public Company Limited, Thailand’s largest gold mining operator with a clear ambition to lead gold production in Southeast Asia, is unwavering in its commitment to elevating operational standards. This dedication goes hand-in-hand with its desire for continuous collaboration with its fellow Thai companies in the gold industry, which forms the bedrock of the “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership. This innovative alliance seamlessly unifies the entire gold supply chain, fundamentally reshaping the industry. In this groundbreaking partnership, Akara confidently envisions the uninterrupted flow of “value” cascading through the chain — commencing with Akara, traversing through PMR, and culminating with Ausiris, each contributing to the mining, refinement, and craftsmanship of gold. However, this partnership is about more than just business; it is about creating employment opportunities, enhancing the quality of life, championing environmental preservation, all while safeguarding Thai culture through the journey of Thai gold. Ultimately, this collective endeavor will drive Thailand forward as the new epicenter of gold production in Southeast Asia. Akara, while excavating “Thai Gold,” is simultaneously delivering the “Value of Sustainability” to the Thai people, setting the stage for the other values to follow suit.

During the booth visit, Mr. Cherdsak Utha-aroon expressed Akara’s role in enhancing the quality of life and fostering community development around its mine within the framework of the “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership. He stated that, “Akara unearths ‘value’ from the ground. Value is created by us, so more added value may follow throughout the entire supply chain. We commenced commercial operations on 12 December 2001, and since then, on average we have produced more than 100,000 ounces of gold and 1,000,000 ounces of silver per year. So far, we have been accumulating over 23.6 million safe working hours under our belt, earning us a title of ‘one of the safest gold mines in the world.’ Meanwhile, we have contributed over THB 4,000 billion to the Thai economy by generating over 1,000 positions filled by Thai employees, with 90% of those being local residents from the communities surrounding our mine. 

“Akara’s mission in these regards goes beyond these achievements. We have also taken the initiative to establish, maintain, and repair the entire water supply systems for 28 villages within a 5-kilometer radius of our mine. Our active engagement in reforestation efforts is also equally noteworthy. We are in relentless pursuit of a greener world, with a target of planting more than 1,000,000 trees by 2027. Additionally, since the start of our operations, we have disbursed over THB 4,600 million in royalties. Of this sum, 40% goes to the central government, 50% to the local administrative organizations in our mine’s vicinity, and the remaining 10% to other local administrative organizations nationwide. All of these endeavors exemplify Akara’s commitment to giving back to the Thai people, providing added value that paves the way for the other values down the gold supply chain, all with a sense of pride for all,” concluded the general manager – sustainability.

The dedicated commitment to placing “Thai people” at the core of its vision perfectly aligns with that of Precious Metal Refining Company Limited. As an internationally recognized precious metal processing and refinery company, PMR has consistently focused on raising the bar for metal processing and refinery, assuring consumers that its gold and silver can effectively meet the increasingly diverse demands of the market. This accomplishment is made possible by its rigorous processing and refining procedures that conform to global standards. Of particular note are the RJC Certification and GIT Standard — the very benchmarks that Akara and Ausiris sought when selecting a precious metal refining partner, prompting their decisions to join hands with PMR under the “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership. In this collaboration, PMR serves as the “conduit.” It receives gold from its partners in a variety of forms, including doré bars from the upstream and old jewelry pieces from the downstream, then meticulously processes and refines these materials into pure gold, ensuring strict compliance with the exacting standards set by each of the collaborating companies. This alliance significantly enhances Thai entrepreneurs’ and gold products’ competitiveness in both domestic and international markets. And it is thanks to the processing and refining of Thai gold by PMR that guarantees that the transfer of “Value of Excellency” is not only feasible, but also continuous and seamless, regardless of geographical and temporal boundaries.

M.L. Paramaporn Devakula eloquently conveyed PMR’s dedicated commitment to being a preferred partner in precious metal processing and refinery within the framework of the “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership. He emphasized, “Our strict adherence to RJC Certification and GIT Standard serves as a testament to PMR’s dedication to excellence in processing and refining precious metals. And we have entered into the ‘Thai Gold for Thais’ partnership to promote Thailand to a gold processing and refinery hub in Southeast Asia. And it is because of the high standards we uphold that Thai gold and silver products are now much more competitive on the global market, making them eligible for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), which have a number of benefits.

“Notably, these advantages encompass reduced import taxes for destination countries, contingent upon providing proof of country of origin, demonstrating that the gold and silver are processed and refined in Thailand in accordance with international standards. This gives a distinct competitive edge to Thai entrepreneurs and gold and silver products in foreign markets, leading to an increase in orders, especially within ASEAN countries. Furthermore, this enhances cost transparency, ensuring that over 40% of the value of these products originates from resources within Thailand, primarily from Akara and PMR, which, in turn, provides a competitive advantage to manufacturers like Ausiris. All in all, these stringent standards and ensuing benefits instill confidence that the transmission of ‘value’ is feasible, continuous, and seamless, regardless of how far across borders or through time it may go, underpinning the enduring success of the partnership,” added the general manager.

Similarly, in the “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership, Ausiris Limited Company, a distinguished leader in the manufacturing and repurchase of gold bars and jewelry pieces, perceives an exceptional opportunity to proudly carry forward the legacy of Petchaburi goldsmiths, where it finds its roots. In this dynamic alliance, the gold itself stands for a harmonious brainchild conceived from the union of Akara’s mining, PMR’s refinery, and Ausiris’ workmanship, embodying a universal tapestry of values. As a result, giving customers this gold is more than just a business transaction; it is an immersive experience that transcends material value. Truly shining even at face value, it invites customers to delve deeper beyond meets the eye, to intimately connect with the spiritual essence of Thai goldsmithing. Most recently, Ausiris has unveiled the Gold Treasures collection, a selection of small gold bars with a purity of 99.99% and adorned with exquisite Thai motifs symbolizing Thailand’s heritage. From upstream to downstream, not only does this creation stimulate job creation and income distribution, but it also promotes the singular artistry of Thai goldsmiths. And with this concerted effort, the conventional “gold supply chain” will culminate in a “gold value chain.” As “Thai gold” continues to circulate throughout Thailand and extend beyond to the rest of the world, the enduring “Value of Craftsmanship” will ultimately continue to live on with — and within — the Thai people, returning to the roots of “Thai identity” and standing side by side with the other preceding two values for Thais, as exemplified by the name of this visionary partnership.

Mr. Boonlert Siripatvanich offered insights into the inception of the “Thai Gold for Thais” vision, its evolution into the present-day eponymous partnership, and Ausiris’ pivotal role in this collaboration. He clarified, “‘Thai Gold’ means gold that is mined, refined, and crafted by Thais. ‘For Thais’ on the one hand means carrying profound economic implications benefitting Thais, be it job creation, income generation, or craftsmanship promotion among our fellow Thais. On the other hand, it means extending opportunities for Thais to support and, in turn, take pride in Thai gold products by Thais for Thais. 

“Most importantly, ‘Thai Gold’ doesn’t exclusively belong to Thai people, nor is it limited to a particular generation. Its enduring value and pride associated with it can be passed on through generations, whether through the purchase of gold bars or jewelry pieces or the recycling of old jewelry pieces, transforming them into pure gold before reshaping them into new forms. And this ‘Thai Gold for Thais’ partnership contributes to ensuring the perpetual, seamless handing down of these values, transcending geographical borders and generational boundaries. This concerted effort will ultimately cultivate a shared sense of ‘Thai Pride’ — gilded and glistening as gold, poised to show before the world’s eyes. At the same time, it will propel Thailand toward a prominent position as a gold production and trade hub within Southeast Asia,” concluded the chief executive officer. In this transformative “Thai Gold for Thais” partnership, gold will be produced by Akara in the form of dore bars. These bars will subsequently be sent to PMR, where they will be processed and refined into gold bullions, following internationally recognized sustainability and social responsibility standards. The refined bullions are then passed on to Ausiris to be further crafted into exquisite gold bars and jewelry pieces. This intricate process signifies the seamless transfer of enduring values — sustainability, excellence, and craftsmanship — throughout the entire supply chain. These coordinated efforts yield significant benefits for the Thai people. Employment opportunities are created, quality of life enhanced, and cultural identity preserved through Thai gold — proudly by Thais for Thais. Moreover, this partnership also extends an invitation to the Thai people to actively support products that embody these three cherished values — ones that resonate with people worldwide in search of gold. This collaboration represents a synergy of global values, a journey that elevates the gold supply chain to the pinnacle of a gold value chain. And this chain passes on these precious values seamlessly across borders and through generations, circulating throughout Thailand and subsequently extending beyond, ultimately raising Thailand’s potential as a comprehensive gold hub in Southeast Asia.

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“Akara” Partners with “PMR” and “AUSIRIS” Tranforming Thailand into an International Gold Hub Under the “Thai Gold for Thais” Ethos

On 9 September 2022, Akara Resources Public Company Limited innovates the gold industry, joining hands with Precious Metal Refining Company Limited or PMR and Ausiris Company Limited in connecting the gold supply chain from upstream to downstream under the vision “Thai Gold for Thais,” with the aims of generating employment, distributing income, enhancing quality of life, and passing on Thai cultural identity through Thai gold, while promoting Thailand into Southeast Asia’s new gold hub.

“Our partnership with Akara began when we had the opportunity to offer the company our refinery service, recycling the gold scraps left in its production line, which was the first time we had ever worked with an upstream company,” said M.L. Paramaporn Devakula, General Manager of Precious Metal Refining Company Limited, on the origin and significance of the partnership. “In the past, the majority of the precious metals we processed and refined were precious metal scraps from manufacturing processes and old precious metal ornaments. At that time, Akara sent its team to work with us, and together, we were able to successfully recycle the gold scraps in its production line, refining them back into 99.99% pure gold and silver in compliance with international standards. From the cooperation, we learned that Akara was looking for a precious metal processing and refinery service provider, and we are confident and ready to be its partner in gold processing, refinery, and recovery. So, we have formed the partnership with Akara and Ausiris, for we envision that this will integrate the Thai gold industry’s supply chain across Thai upstream, midstream, and downstream companies for the first time in Thailand, which will be beneficial to all parties involved while propelling the country into becoming Southeast Asia’s new gold processing and refinery hub.”

The upstream-midstream-downstream partnership is yet another seminal milestone for Akara Resources Public Company Limited, Thailand’s largest gold mining operator as well, given that it is in keeping with the company’s vision of “becoming Southeast Asia’s leader in gold production.” Akara has a policy of constantly raising the bar for working standards while seeking partnerships with companies in the gold industry, particularly with gold processing and refinery companies. Originally, the company had to export its dore bars to be refined and processed abroad into 99.99% pure gold and silver in accordance with international standards, and it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic, when the company had the opportunity to collaborate with PMR on refining the gold scraps in its production line, that the idea of the trailblazing partnership came to be, shaking up the gold industry.

The decision of the company to enter into the partnership with PMR as well as the significance of such partnership were further elaborated by Mr. Cherdsak Utha-Aroon, General Manager of External Affairs Department, Akara Resources Public Company Limited, stating: “RJC Certification is what we look for in gold processing and refinery companies to form a partnership with. We decided to partner with PMR as the company did an excellent job of recycling the gold scraps in our production line. From there, we learned that PMR is a Thai company that offers gold processing, refinery, and recovery services in strict compliance with international standards, not to mention the company’s social responsibility policy, which is aligned with ours. So, we are positive and confident that this partnership with PMR will aid in the realization of the goals — both Akara’s goal of becoming Southeast Asia’s leader in gold production and the partnership’s goal of elevating Thailand to become Southeast Asia’s new gold production hub. Akara operates its business with a sense of social responsibility towards the surrounding society; The opening of its gold mine on the borders of the three provinces, Phichit, Phetchabun, and Phitsanulok, in the remote areas far away from their central business districts,helps generate employment, distribute income, and enhance quality of life, which in turn will serve as a driving force for the areas’ socio-economic development; Not only do we offer employment in mining operations, both directly and through contractors, with the majority of our employees being residents of the surrounding communities, which keeps families from migrating in search of work, resulting in their living together in their communities and spending on local businesses, but we also support entrepreneurs and businesses in related industries in Thailand, make contributions to various community development funds in the fields of infrastructure, health and well-being, social welfare, education, and religion, and pay royalties that will in turn be allocated to the local governments in the mining areas for community development.”

In the partnership, Ausiris Company Limited saw an opportunity to further parlay its vision of “Thai Gold for Thais” into a legacy of enhancing spiritual values through the craftsmanship of Thai goldsmiths, which is strongly entrenched in the company’s pride of being a gathering of goldsmiths. The company aspires for all Thai customers to experience the spiritual values that assume form from the care and craftsmanship that Thai goldsmiths put into crafting each and every gold jewelry piece, as well as to take pride in wearing them on every occasion. The company’s trust in the partnership stems from nowhere other than its long-established confidence in PMR’s service. Ausiris has long been a customer of PMR, having the company recycle its old gold jewelry pieces back to pure gold that complies with the international standards it has always upheld. Today, such confidence has come into fruition in the form of the revolutionary partnership, reverberating across the gold industry.

In fleshing out on the company’s pride as well as the significance of entering into the partnership with PMR, Mr. Boonlert Siripatvanich, Chief Executive Officer of Ausiris Company Limited, revealed, “For us, Ausiris, it is in our DNA to place a high value on Thai cultural identity, and that is deeply rooted in our being goldsmiths. We take pride and pleasure in every time we see gold jewelry pieces meticulously handcrafted by Thai goldsmiths sitting on everyone’s body, every time we bear witness to Thai goldsmiths’ craftsmanship imbuing gold jewelry pieces with sentimental values. It is this pride that we want to perpetuate, so we seek partnerships to help elevate our vision ‘Thai Gold for Thais’ to a higher height. Regarding our decision to join hands with PMR, we have always been a customer of the company, entrusting it with recycling our old gold jewelry pieces back to 99.99% pure gold according to the international standards, whose percentage is certified in accordance with the GIT standards we have always adhered to. Additionally, PMR has always upheld a social responsibility philosophy that is in line with ours in that it strives to create jobs and distribute income to Thais. We therefore view the partnership with PMR as much an extension as a manifestation of our vision ‘Thai Gold for Thais,’ completing the supply chain, thereby decreasing imports, increasing spiritual values, and providing Thais with products in a sustainable manner. We believe that with continuous and serious development, Thailand will undoubtedly become Southeast Asia’s one-stop gold production and trading hub.”

This game-changing partnership, which will forever revolutionize the Thai gold industry, is made possible by PMR acting as a bridge connecting upstream and downstream, with the vision that such partnership will benefit all parties involved, including Thailand. For the first time ever, the connection of the Thai gold industry’s supply chain has been established not only between Thai companies, but also across upstream, midstream, and downstream. This will definitely drive the country to establish itself as Southeast Asia’s new one-stop, international standard gold hub. Under this partnership, Akara will produce gold and send it in the form of doré bars to PMR for inspection to ensure their compliance with the GIT standard before processing and refining them into gold and silver bullions that comply with the RJC’s standards of sustainability and social responsibility, using an international standard-compliant process, and sending the gold bullions to Ausiris for further processing into gold jewelry pieces.

Akara Expedites the Establishment of a Fund Committee to Enhance Community Involvement in Fund Management before Mine Reopening

On 18 January 2023, Akara Resources Public Company Limited, the owner of the Chatree Gold Mine, together with community leaders, community representatives, and relevant government agencies including provincial industrial departments and provincial educational institutions, totaling 50 individuals, established a fund management committee for community development around the mining area. Additionally, a committee was formed to oversee the health fund of the local population, in accordance with the policy framework and strategic plan for mineral resource management in the gold mining areas, B.E. 2565. This restructuring allowed community leaders and representatives from the three surrounding provinces – Phichit, Phetchabun, and Phitsanulok – to play a role in fund management to maximize benefits for the local population, ensuring sustainable coexistence between the mine and the community.

Mr. Cherdsak Utha-aroon, the General Manager – Sustainability and Akara’s representative at this meeting, disclosed that Akara had previously contributed over 243 million baht to various funds with the intention of utilizing these funds as another mechanism to drive community development. However, the majority of these funds were used for academic projects, making it challenging for the community to access them. This led to the collaborative effort to streamline the fund management structure to better serve the community’s needs.

The Department of Primary Industries and Mines has kindly accepted proposals from community leaders for consideration in drafting regulations. Henceforth, the authority for managing both funds will lie with the committees representing the local population. This will streamline communication channels, ensuring that project proposals, approvals, fund disbursements, and progress tracking align more closely with the community’s development needs, enhancing their quality of life significantly,” Mr. Cherdsak added.

According to the Ministry of Industry’s announcement regarding the policy framework and strategic plan for mineral resource management, issued by the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, the Company must contribute to four funds, amounting to 22% of the annual royalties paid by the Company or no less than 65 million baht annually.

As for the Community Development Fund around the mining area, its objective is to support activities or projects related to community development within a 3-kilometer radius of the mining area. The Company is required to contribute 5% of the royalties paid annually, not less than 15 million baht per year throughout its operation period. Regarding the Health Surveillance Fund, its purpose is to support activities or projects related to health surveillance of the local population within a 5-kilometer radius of the mine. The Company is required to contribute 3% of the royalties paid annually, not less than 10 million baht per year throughout its operation period.

Mr. Niphon Phomnoi, the headman of Khao Chet Luk Subdistrict, Tap Khlo District, Phichit Province, stated, “After the Director-General of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines appointed the fund committee, we will promptly establish criteria and conditions to ensure that they are beneficial and accountable. This will make it easier to assess and provide flexibility, meeting the needs of the community within a 3-kilometer radius.”

One of the projects expected to benefit from the Community Development Fund is the Chili Paste and Curry Paste by Housewives Group, as mentioned by Mr. Somchai Laemnak, the headman of Village 7, Tai Dong Subdistrict, Wang Pong District, Phetchabun Province. He said, “The village has diversified its chili and curry paste products and has planned to expand the network to provide additional income for families and community.”

In conclusion, Mr. Cherdsak emphasized, “Akara values community participation. Previously, the Company announced job opportunities for local residents to work at the mine. With the approval of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, the community has a greater role in fund management. We hope these funds will be another key mechanism for community development moving forward.”

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