A watershed moment for Thai mining

A watershed moment for Thai mining

Natural limestone croppings are common in the region of Dong Mafai, Nong Bua Lam Phu province. Above, the popular Wat Tham Suwannakuha. (Photo via TAT)
Natural limestone croppings are common in the region of Dong Mafai, Nong Bua Lam Phu province. Above, the popular Wat Tham Suwannakuha. (Photo via TAT)

This month marks a landmark moment for the mining industry.

Last week, the Udon Thani Administrative Court revoked a limestone mining concession in a forest reserve in Nong Bua Lam Phu province, ruling that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and other government agencies had failed to allow public participation, as required by the constitution, prior to granting a permit for the firm to mine limestone.

In the past, judges usually made their decisions based on demonstrable evidence of how the legal rights and lives of locals would be affected by such developments. In the limestone mining case, the court gave weight to the process of project development. The verdict, which can be appealed, will serve as a reminder to state agencies and companies that public participation is a crucial element for project development in areas where natural resources are shared with communities.

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Anchalee Kongrut

Editorial pages editor

Anchalee Kongrut is Bangkok Post's editorial pages editor.

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