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Loei gold mine, Thailand

Loei villagers fight to stop the operation of Tungkum Ltd. gold mine; they built walls to block the road and denounced the contamination of water and land with cyanide, arsenic, and mercury


The gold mine operated by Tungkum Limited (TKL), received the operational licence in 2006. Villagers in the Na Nong Bong community in Loei province live less than 2.5 kilometers from the mine. Since 2006 they have filed complaints against the mine's license in the attempts to mitigate the contamination of their villages. The gold mine was accused of poisoning the villagers’

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Loei gold mine, Thailand
State or province:Loei Province
Location of conflict:Wang Saphung district
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral processing
Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Gold mine operated by Tungkum Ltd. (TKL), a subsidiary of Tongkah Harbour PCL.

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Project area:207
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3,000-4,000
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Tungkum Limited (TKL) from Thailand
Relevant government actors:The Ministery of Health
Wang Samphung District Officer
Abhisit administration
Gobernet cabinet resolution
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Network of Lecturers and Students for Society and the Environment
Environmental activist group Ecological Alert and Recovery — Thailand (EARTH).
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group (KRBKG): a community-based group committed
People Who Love Their Hometown (PWLTH): Na Nong Bong anti-mining group
CIEE: Khon Kaen’s Development and Globalization
The Human Rights Law Center for Society
Servicios Universitarios Y Redes de Conocimientos en Oaxaca A.C. (SURCO)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Na Nong Bong Community
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Children’s choir and singing songs about the story of the community and whay they are fighting for. The lyrics said ”The food is ours, we will protect our village, because we love our home”. They said “we want the mine to be shut down and the land restored” “we want to see this village have its old way of life back”
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsThere is a cyanide, arsenic, and mercury in people's blood
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in violence and crime
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
The expansion of mine licenses in the province was stopped
Proposal and development of alternatives:To create a new law that includes people participation in order to determine their own future (villages/local people future)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The expansion of licenses in the province were paralized by the goverment and the mine operation was stopped. However the social, economical and environmental negative impacts of its operations continued in the area. The military have pressured the villagers not to make any move concerning the mine and environmental issues. "The military invoked martial law to force the villagers to stop a planned activity to raise environmental concerns. The military also confiscated a stereo belonging to the villagers"[9].
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[3] Na Nong Bong Fall 2013 Protest Updates
[click to view]

[4] Mining industry thugs must be stopped
[click to view]

[1] Atlas mining:project information
[click to view]

[5] Gold mine protesters hurt by armed mob and shady deals
[click to view]

[2] Pillaging of resources shows depth of political rot
[click to view]

[8] Two with Thai army links found guilty of attack on gold mine protest
[click to view]

[9] How Thai junta uses martial law to end conflict by silencing people
[click to view]

Tongakah Harbour mine web
[click to view]

Loei villagers claim armed mob attacked them over mine row
[click to view]

Gold diggers, written by Geographical, 20 July 2015. A major Geographical investigation looks at the devastating environmental and debilitating health effects a Thai gold mine is having on a village in Loei, and at how a group of determined villagers are fighting back
[click to view]

there will be no gold mines at all in Thailand after this year.
[click to view]

Gold rush crawls to a standstill
[click to view]

Mining firm seeking to sue schoolgirl, 15
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Na Nong Bong: The Power of a Wall (a form of resistance)
[click to view]

[7] Mining in Loei Province
[click to view]

[6] Fields of Mine: Na Nong Bong, Thailand (UPDATED)
[click to view]

The Animated Story of a Gold Mine in Northeast Thailand
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor: SM (ICTA-UAB) and Carros de Combate
Last update18/08/2019
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