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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thailand’s race to become a global potash giant leaves bitter taste in Isaan

Residents living around Thailand’s only commercial potash mine warn that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s plan to transform the country into a leading potash producer risks inflicting devastating environmental impacts in the Northeast, also known as Isaan.

“The prime minister talks about how fertilizer prices will drop. But what good will it do if our land becomes infertile?” said Duenrung Munkhuntod, who farms land near the Thai Kali Co mine in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Dan Khun Thot district and is part of the Dan Khun Thot Hometown Lovers Group.

The Thai company won a 25-year mining license in 2015 and has been extracting potash in Dan Khun Thot since 2017. However, it suspended operations after saltwater from mineshafts overflowed into the surrounding soil in 2019. Local environmentalists complained that pollution from the mine was killing their crops and polluting their…

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