The Supreme Court’s Environmental Division yesterday upheld the verdict in favour of the 151 plaintiffs suing Lead Concentrates (Thailand) Co for violating environmental laws.
Due to the violations, the environment near Klity Village was polluted, causing harm to local residents.
“The firm is ordered to pay Bt36.05 million in compensation to the plaintiffs. The annual interest rate of 7.5 per cent applies from the date this lawsuit was filed with the court,” said Surapong Kongchantuk, of the Lawyers Council of Thailand. “The court also requires the firm to rehabilitate the polluted Klity Creek.”
The lawsuit was filed with the court on October 19, 2007, after residents living near the creek saw clear adverse impacts from the mining operations that started in their hometown in 1967.
Initially, residents demanded Bt1 billion in compensation. However, they said they were content with the court’s ruling.
“What we care most about is the rehabilitation of the Klity Creek,” Yaser Nasuansuwan said.
Pinan Chotirosseranee, who heads a Kanchanaburi women’s group, said she was happy after hearing the verdict.
“We have been fighting against the pollution by the firm alongside residents for 19 years already. We hope the court ruling today will set a precedent in other pollution cases,” she said.
Surapong, who confirmed the Klity villagers had won all of their court cases, said: “Last year, eight local people won their case at the Supreme Court, winning Bt20 million in compensation.”
He added that four years ago the Supreme Administrative Court had also ruled in favour of Klity villagers and ordered the mine to pay Bt4-million compensation to residents who could not use water from Klity Creek.
“The Supreme Administrative Court has also ordered the firm to restore the creek to its original, unpolluted state. But to date, rehabilitation at the creek has not yet started because the Pollution Control Department has still not approved the rehabilitation plan,” Surapong said. He added that if the rehabilitation work did not start in the near future, he would talk to local people about the next step.
Source : Nation Multimedia