By The Nation
Tungkum Co Ltd, which operates a gold mine in Loei’s Wang Saphung district, lost the legal battle as the court believed local residents had solid evidence proving that the firm’s mining operations damaged the environment in areas around the mining zones.
More than 100 locals filed a collective complaint against Tungkum to press for environmental rehabilitation and compensation for damages they have suffered.
According to the plaintiffs, mining operations spoiled the environment, which has harmed their health, affected their livelihood as farmers and made it impossible for them to rely on natural food and water sources.
However, the court found the demand of Bt300,000 per family too high, and even though it ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, it ordered the mining company to pay the 149 claimants Bt104,000 each.
This is over and above the environmental rehabilitation measures the company will have to implement in line with state standards. The court also requires the company to involve the plaintiffs in rehabilitation planning.
The court’s ruling was based on the fact that the Constitution enshrines community rights to resource management and usage, giving locals the authority to demand environmental rehabilitation and take part in rehabilitation planning.
The plaintiffs were satisfied with the verdict.