China’s potash demand stirs resistance in rural Thailand

The future of a potash mine planned for north-eastern Thailand is mired in uncertainty as villagers put up fierce opposition, fuelled by concerns about their livelihoods, health and environment.

Last year a group led by local women blocked access to exploratory drilling sites in the Wanon Niwat district of Sakon Nakhon province. In response China Ming Ta Potash Corporation filed a flurry of lawsuits against the villagers, seeking 34 million baht (US$1 million) in compensation.

Meanwhile, questions linger over whether the outgoing military government tweaked legislation to favour foreign mining companies over environmental protection and community rights.

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Yodsapon Kerdviboon, Visarut Sankham