Cabinet okays THB36bn potash mining project in Udon Thanibackground-defaultbackground-default

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FRIDAY, March 31, 2023
Cabinet okays THB36bn potash mining project in Udon Thani

Cabinet okays THB36bn potash mining project in Udon Thani

TUESDAY, June 28, 2022

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a controversial proposal by the Industry Ministry to allow potash mining in Udon Thani, which is expected to draw investment of 36 billion baht.

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit told reporters that his ministry was given the green light to grant a concession to Asia Pacific Potash Corporation. The mining will be carried out in Tambon Nong Phai, Muang district. Suriya said the Primary Industries and Mines Department will now start the concession process.

“The firm wants to start mining as soon as possible but the process will take at least six months before the mining can begin,” Suriya said. The mine is expected to produce about 2 million tonnes of potash per year, he added.

The industry minister told the Cabinet that the mining project had been endorsed by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council. It had also been okayed by local people in public hearings, as required by the law, he said.

A group of local environmentalists has sent a petition opposing the potash mine to Suriya and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The petition was signed by 2,568 local residents concerned about the mine project’s impact on their livelihoods, health and environment.

The Industry Ministry responded by insisting the project would go ahead as it had passed all environmental checks required by law.

The company plans to mine a total of 33.67 million tonnes of potash during the concession, for which it has offered a fee of 16.6 billion baht. It also forecasts it will pay corporate tax of 15 billion baht on revenue from potash sales.

The Industry Ministry told the Cabinet that revenue from the concession fee would be split, with 6.64 billion baht going to the Finance Ministry and the remaining 9.96 billion baht going to the Department of Local Administration to distribute to local administrations around the country.

The Udon Thani Provincial Administrative Organisation will receive the biggest portion of Bt3.32 billion.

The government has already granted potash mining concessions to Thai Kali Co Ltd in Nakhon Ratchasima and Asean Potash Chaiyaphum Plc in Chaiyaphum.

Suriyasai said the new potash mine would help solve the fertiliser shortage in Thailand.