Potash firm trying to calm locals in Udon about mine

national July 27, 2015 01:00

By The Nation

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A MINING company has been trying to calm locals opposed to a new potash mine in Udon Thani by disseminating information, and explaining the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Asia Pacific Potash Corp (APPC) said sharing information should help clear misunderstanding and facilitate efforts for it to start its potash mining in the northeastern province. 
“The mine will benefit all sides,” the company insisted. 
APPC’s plan to start mining in Udon Thani has faced stiff opposition from people living in Prachaksinlapakhom district for years. The locals say they are concerned about the impact the mine will have on their health and environment. 
However, APPC insists that it has conducted the EIA in line with set standards and has put in place measures to prevent and minimise impacts. 
APPC also explained that once the EIA is concluded, a forum will be held so people can check and express opinions on the EIA results. This process is called “prachakhom” in Thai. 
“It’s a legally required process for public participation,” APPC said in its statement. 
The company plans to mine more than 26,446 rai in tambons Non Soong, Nong Phai and Nong Khon Kwang in Udon Thani’s Muang district and in tambon Prachaksilpakom in the district of the same name. People living in Prachaksinlapakhom’s tambons Huai Sam Phad and Na Muang have joined forces to voice a firm stance against the potash mine. 
Due to their opposition, a consulting firm hired by APPC has been unable to arrange a public forum in their town. APPC has said it is illegal to try to block the forum being held. 
“Other people want information on the project so they can express their opinions,” APPC said. 
The firm also noted that it plans to earmark over Bt3 billion in funds to help people cope with possible impacts from its mining operations. 
“One of these funds will pay Bt48,000 per rai in the area covered by the mining licence, which involves underground mining,” it said. 

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