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” . 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 . 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.
Over the last years, several projects have been proposed in Thailand to exploit those resources. One of those projects is the mine proposed by the China Mingda Potash Corporation (sometimes also written as China Ming Ta Potash Corporation) in the district of Wanon Niwat, in the province of Sakhon Nakhon, in the northeastern part of the country. China Mingda Potash Corporation, is a joint-venture between the Thai and the Chinese government, according to the manager in Thailand of the corporation as quoted by the local newspaper The Nation 
In 2015, the company obtained from the Thai government an exploration license covering over 110,000 rai (17,600 hectares) of land. Local villagers have demonstrated for years to oppose the project  , accusing the company of bypassing the Environmental Impact Assessment process. One of the last protests happened in December 2018 when thousands of villagers walked against the project . In May 2018, at least two local people were charged with organizing an illegal public gathering that forced the exploration to halt . Back then, organizing gatherings with political content of more than five people was banned according to an order released in 2015 by the military junta running the country since 2014.
Activists and researchers have warned of the potential environmental impacts of the project. Thus, underground mining could destabilize the soil and make it sink, while the salinity would also increase due to the large piles that will be created during the processing of the potash.
In October 2018, local residents of Wanon Niwat District released the results of a 2-year participatory research project  on the impacts of the mine. According to the research, the development of the mining project would damage the natural resources in the area, including the 31 freshwater fish species that live in the nearby water streams that ”provide the major sources of protein for the local people”.
Activists have also faced harassment. For instance, Satanon Chuenta, an environmentalist who has opposed the mine, filed a complaint in February 2018 contending that a man who claimed to be a police officer had threatened his family . In 2017, the National Human Rights Commission warned the activists that they were being watched .