Luke Duggleby

Photographer
     
The Wamon Anti-Mining Walk
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Nationality: British
Biography: Luke Duggleby is an award-winning British freelance photographer who has been based in Bangkok, Thailand, for more than 15 years. He works predominantly in Asia but also in Africa and further afield shooting documentary, portraiture and editorial... read on
Public Story
The Wamon Anti-Mining Walk

Under the vast swathes of green rice paddy, deep below the ground of Northeast Thailand lie enormous deposits of potash and for decades, mining companies have been eyeing this potash potential, an ore rich in potassium chloride that provides the primary ingredient in the production of agricultural fertilizers.

The first foreign company, from Canada, to begin the process of exploration arrived some 20 years ago in the neighbouring province of Udon Thani. Despite having quietly passed an Environmental Impact Assessment and gaining a mining license, as soon as the local villagers were informed the opposition was so strong that even today not an ounce of potash has been removed and exploration markers stand rusty and bent.

In 2015, a Chinese company called China Ming Ta Potash Corporation received the rights to explore the potash mining potential of a province neighbouring Udon Thani called Sakhon Nakhon. The company had 5 years to test what was below on 12 mining plots that encompassed 18,700 hectares of land and included 82 villages in the district of Wanon Niwat.

Again, the resistance was fierce and after receiving advice the community of Wanon Niwat formed an environmental group and began pressuring the company to cease all mining practices.

Able to mass an opposition of thousands in half an hour this community environmental group makes sure that any mining activity, even the moving of equipment, is met by a wall of local people, over 80% of which are women, in the groups matching green tops and wide-brimmed farmers hats.

The villagers have a right to be concerned. This fertile area of land has cultivated rice for generations and sits amongst important watersheds and river tributaries. Part of the land is seasonally flooded forests and is a delicate and important ecosystem that has been sustainably managed and utilized by the communities who gather food and other resources from them.

The production of potash produces vast amounts of salt as a waste product and it is this, in an already salty region, that the locals say will ruin their main drinking water source, the Huay Thong Lake, that also is the main water source, not only for villages but also a town of over 120,000 people.

Now with less than a year left of the company’s mining license the concerned villagers and their environmental group are ramping up the pressure fearing a renewal in the mining rights by staging mass protests. In December 2018, they held the Wanon Walk in which around 200 villagers walked from their community to the provincial capital of Sakhon Nakhon 85 kilometres away, closely followed by police, members of the military and intelligence agencies. Taking 6 days, villagers of all demographics walked every day, stopping only to eat and sleep at local Buddhist temples until they reached their ultimate goal of Sakhon Nakhon University grounds.

In reaction to the villager’s opposition the company has filed criminal and civil lawsuits against nine individuals for defamation and loss of income as a result of their opposition to the exploration drilling sites.

The license of the potash company expires in 2021 and so the local people are keeping up the pressure to make sure that the Thai Government does not renew the company license.

3,197

By Luke Duggleby —

VISUAL STORY

TEARSHEETS

By Luke Duggleby
VISUAL STORY

A Precious Land

By Luke Duggleby / Loei — In the Northeastern Province of Loei is the community environmental group of Khon Rak Ban Kerd (Villagers..
VISUAL STORY

PORTRAITS

By Luke Duggleby — A SELECTION OF PORTRAIT IMAGES
VISUAL STORY

SOUTHEAST ASIA'S DENGUE EPIDEMIC

By Luke Duggleby / Bangkok — Dengue fever is considered the most serious mosquito-borne viral disease, with 50% of the world population..
VISUAL STORY

For Those Who Died Trying

By Luke Duggleby / Thailand — Our planet is at a critical point in time. We understand more than we ever have about it, yet it is..
VISUAL STORY

SINGLES

By Luke Duggleby
VISUAL STORY

NGO/DEVELOPMENT

By Luke Duggleby — A selection of work shot for NGO's, Corporate Social Responsibility projects and Developmental work for..
VISUAL STORY

Protectors of the Forest

By Luke Duggleby — The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest complex, which comprises of four National Parks and a Wildlife Sanctuary..
VISUAL STORY

Cambodia's Cardamom Forest

By Luke Duggleby / Cambodia — The Cardamom Mountains remains one of Southeast Asia's last great forests. One of the largest and most..
VISUAL STORY

Sri Lanka's African Diaspora

By Luke Duggleby / Sri Lanka — On September 24 th 2017, the last remaining Afro-Sri Lankan’s commemorated what they believe to be..
VISUAL STORY

A Village Under Siege

By Luke Duggleby / Surat Thani — On 19th November 2012, two Thai women were found dead at the edge of a palm oil plantation, a mere 800..
VISUAL STORY

Sewing a Message

By Luke Duggleby — A community struggle against an outside entity is all consuming for those involved. They are the people of..
VISUAL STORY

Dagestan

By Luke Duggleby / Dagestan — DAGESTAN Located in the North Caucasus, bordering the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Chechnya, Dagestan is..
VISUAL STORY

South Asia's African Diaspora

By Luke Duggleby / South Asia — Much study and documentation has been done into the Western movement of slaves from Africa, that forcibly..
VISUAL STORY

A Damaged Delta

By Luke Duggleby — Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is one of the world's areas most ‘at-risk’ from the effects of..
VISUAL STORY

Thailand's Illegal Dog Meat Trade

By Luke Duggleby / Nakhon Sakhon Thailand — With thousands of miles of porous borders, Thailand is continuously fighting illicit international trades...
VISUAL STORY

Pakistan's Salt Mines

By Luke Duggleby — The 300km long Kohistan-e-Namak mountain range in Northern Pakistan is home to one of the largest deposits..
VISUAL STORY

Emptying the Seas

By Luke Duggleby — Marine ecologists and conservationists believe that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is..
VISUAL STORY

FROM NO MANS LAND TO THE UNKNOWN

By Luke Duggleby / Debiganj — On July 31 st 2015 the enclaves that formed one of the world's most complicated borders were officially..
VISUAL STORY

Salt

By Luke Duggleby — Taken for granted in modern times salt remains one of the most important minerals for human survival. Our..
Join us
for more access