Villagers protest mining concession over health concerns

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Phrae – Villagers in Phrae northern Thailand are protesting the issuance of a concession to a private mining company, over concerns for their health and the environment.

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Residents of Saiyoi sub-district in Phrae province submitted a letter to provincial governor Pongrat Piromrat stating their protest against Sakdaporn Industry Co Ltd and S Power Oil Group who have received permission to mine for basalt in the area of their communities.

The villagers state in the letter that the area to be mined is a forest preserve and water source, and that mining there would taint the environment and likely have an impact on the health of residents.

The governor assured the villagers that the concession is still only at the request stage and that evaluations will have to be carried out before any agreements are made.  He noted a public forum will also be held among communities living in a 3-kilometer radius of the mine site, to ensure their opinions are heard and that the Minister of Industry himself is overseeing the process.  He assured the villagers concerned that they would be kept up to date on progress in the matter.