Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples Open Coal Mine at Kabeudin village, Omkoi District, Chiang Mai province

Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples Open Coal Mine at Kabeudin village, Omkoi District, Chiang Mai province

Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples Open Coal Mine at Kabeudin village, Omkoi District, Chiang Mai province


The Open Coal Mine project is a project that the “99 Thuwanon”, a Thai business company and project proponent has applied for a coal mine concession from the Primary Industries and Mines Department (PIMD) license no. 1/2543 to operate at Kabeudin village (A Plong Karen indigenous people) located at M.12, Omkoi sub-district, Omkoi district, Chiang Mai since 2000.  The proposed mining area is 284.3 rai (around 45.3 ha.).   The transport of coal mineral will go through at least six communities.

             The final step before granting the concession is to conduct a public hearing with the possible affected communities. This is a requirement in accordance with the Minerals Act B.E. 2560.

               At this stage, villagers were aware and realized that they haven’t had knowledge about this project. In addition, they have also never involved in the environmental impact assessment process. They therefore decided to get together and protest the issuance of a concession certificate to the said company.  They are afraid that it may cause negative impacts and damage to their community if the coal mine is opened.

2. Impacts to community and environment

1. Scope of the impacts

The proposed coal mine project will cover a vast farming area of Kabeudin village. Community has long relationship and inter-dependent with natural resources surrounding them. The operation of an open coal mine will inevitably cause both direct and indirect impacts to community, society and environment. These are for examples two streams, namely Huay Pha Khao and Huay Ang Khang will be diverted. This will result in causing water shortage for farming (terrace paddy). In addition, the transport of coal ore from Kabeudin to the main road (no. 1099) approximately 17 kilometers will cause dusts and air pollution to community along the way altogether 6 communities.

1.1 Loss of farmlands

Community will lose farmlands 41 plots for mining operation. 

  1. Loss of water sources for agriculture

The company has planned to divert or change the water way of two creeks: Huay Pha Khao and Huay Ang Khang. This will affect at least three communities (Kabeudin, Pha Daeng and Nong Ung) who share and use these two streams for doing terrace paddy fields.

1.3 Impact to health and environment

Mr.Sonthaya Saengphet, a campaign coordinator of the anti-coal mine of Green Peace Thailand, has analyzed that there may be other impacts that have not yet been specified in the report, such as the problem of water usage competition among the communities. It is estimated that up to 3.8 hundred thousand liters of water will be used per day to wash minerals before transporting them away.

The next problem is that the watershed area will be destroyed. Water is being polluted as the mine may contain heavy metal substances when they pump water from the coal mine basement and release it to the natural streams.

Apart from the coal mine which will drastically cause impact to environment, Chiang Mai is now facing the problem of haze and contamination of small dust particles in the air or PM 2.5. The question is whether it is still necessary and worthwhile to open a new coal mine [1]

1.4 Impact from transportation The transport of coal ore from Kabeudin to main road at Nongkrating village is around 17 Kilometers. It will pass through six communities situated along the way. These are Mae Ang Khang, Makok-samton, Thung Kwang, Baankhun, Yong Kue and Nongkrating. These communities will face with dust, noise pollution and risk of having road accident as the road is rather narrow.

[1] Source:กะเบอะดิน: บวชป่า ต้านเหมืองถ่านหิน

2. Arguments and rationale of communities on protesting of coal mine

Since the people of Omkoi have been aware about the proposed mining project on 25 April 2019, they have consistently shown their standpoint in protesting the coal mine. These have been undertaken through submitting complaint letters to the relevant government agencies, conducting campaign activities and press conferences in different occasions. This has been done under the name of “Omkoi Anti-coal Mine Network”. The main argument of the network includes the issue of no transparent consultation process and defections in the EIA report.

Although 99 Thuwanon Company Limited has provided important documents to be used for a request for a concession certificate, the villagers from Kabeudin confirmed that majority have never involved in the initial consultation process. Only some community leaders were aware of the matter. For this reason, the environmental impact assessment process is considered lack of transparency and credibility.

Also, when looking at the EIA report and its supplementary documents, there are many suspicious issues found. These include, but not limited to, the lack of a transparent consultation process, counterfeiting the villagers’ signatures’ appending to the environmental impact assessment report, etc.

3. Recommendations

1) Requesting the Prime Minister or relevant agencies to order a suspension of the said proposed coal mine.

2) If the coal mine is proceeding according to the plan, the EIA report should be revoked. A new EIA should be conducted with transparent and meaningful participation of the people involved. 3) Requesting a revocation of the existing EIA report


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