Sakhon Nakhon Potash Mine, Thailand

Villagers from Sakon Nakhon province, in northern Thailand, have raised against a potash mine that is planned in the area and whose license has been given to a Chinese company


Description

Potash is a mineral key in the agricultural sector since it is used to produce fertilizers. Thailand, a country with a large agricultural sector, has abundant potash deposits, but “these resources have remained untapped due to strong public resistance” [1]. Thailand is the 5th largest importer within Asia, importing 0.7 million tons of potash every year for the production of potassium fertilizers, according to the Siam Commercial Bank [1]. Main countries of origin of the potash are Canada, Belarus, and Germany. Potash can also be used as a raw material for some chemical products such as glass, soap, and ceramics.

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Basic Data
NameSakhon Nakhon Potash Mine, Thailand
CountryThailand
ProvinceSakhon Nakhon
SiteWanon Niwat
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesPotash
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsArea: the company got a license for 110,000 rais (around 17,600). A rai is a unit of area equal to 0.16 hectares.

Population affected: there is no estimation of how many people could be affected by the mine. However, in the district of Wanon Niwat live 119,759 according to official statistics [8].
Project Area (in hectares)17,600
Level of Investment (in USD)Unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population119,759
Start Date01/01/2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesChina Mingda Potash Corporation from China - Developer
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Industry of Thailand, Government of Thailand,
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWanon Niwat Environmental Conservation Group, People Go Network (https://www.facebook.com/pg/PeopleGoNetwork)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases
Otherdiseases related to the pollution produced by the mine
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Repression
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesLocal communities proposed to stop any mining activity in the area.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.So far, there has been no compromise from the company.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Revision of mining codes and laws: Thailand, Kridtaya Sakamornsnguan, Department of Primary Industry and Mines,

Ministry of Industry of Thailand, October 2018
[click to view]

Links

[8] Populations statistics, 2017
[click to view]

[1] What does potash mining mean for Thailand?, Note, Siam Commercial Bank Economic Intelligence Center, February 19 2015
[click to view]

[2] Two charged over blockading of mine test site in Sakon Nakhon, The Nation, May 16, 2018
[click to view]

[3] Villagers protest against potash mine in Thailand’s northeast, Prachatai, September 27, 2016
[click to view]

[7] NHRC warns activists are being monitored, The Nation, July 29, 2017
[click to view]

[9] New push for potash mining hits opposition in Isaan, The Isaan record, 14 November, 2017
[click to view]

[5] Locals see potash mining project as threat to traditional life, The Nation, October 2, 2018
[click to view]

[6] Sakon Nakhon anti-mining activist files police complaint over intimidation, The Isaan Record, February 22, 2018
[click to view]

Media Links

[4] Facebook page for the Wanon Niwat march
[click to view]

Other Documents

Villagers protest in December 2018 Villagers from Sakon Nakhon organized a 6-day march in December 2018 to oppose the potash mine. Source: https://www.facebook.com/เหมืองแร่สกลนคร
[click to view]

Villagers protest in December 2018 Villagers from Sakon Nakhon organized a 6-day march in December 2018 to oppose the potash mine. Source: https://www.facebook.com/เหมืองแร่สกลนคร
[click to view]

Villagers protest in December 2018 Villagers from Sakon Nakhon organized a 6-day march in December 2018 to oppose the potash mine. Source: https://www.facebook.com/เหมืองแร่สกลนคร
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLaura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update09/01/2019
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