On 26 October, the anti-potash mining group of Wanon Niwat in Sakon Nakhon province heard the Supreme Court’s verdict in a legal case between community members and a Chinese potash mining company.
The court rejected an appeal by the Chinese state-owned company China Ming Ta Potash Corporation, effectively ending the case. It upheld an earlier ruling requesting nine community members to each pay the company 40,000 baht with 7.5 percent interest, rather than the large sum requested by the company.
China Ming Ta Potash Corporation received an exploration licence in 2015 to survey and excavate potash in Sakon Nakhon province, covering an area of more than 15,000 hectares. Potash, a type of rock salt prevalent in Thailand’s Northeast, is excavated largely to produce fertiliser. But potash mining comes with the risk of increased salinisation of local water sources and agricultural land.
The local communities claimed they had not been consulted in the mining approval and vehemently opposed the project. Their protest activities included a six-day march from their village to the provincial capital involving hundreds of local people.
As a result, in November 2018 the company filed a flurry of lawsuits against nine local human rights defenders in the community, including defamation cases and the demand of 3.6 million baht in compensation.
To learn more about the story of Wanon Niwat you can read it here https://hardstories.org/stories/natural-resources/women-mining-company-northeast-thailand