EARTH Thailand

Evacuations considered as landslides fell power poles and close road at Egat’s Lampang mine

The Nation 19 March 2018 | PRATEEP NANTAPARP

LANDSLIDES HAVE continued in a waste dump zone at the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) Mae Moh mine in Lampang province.

A local leader is so worried about the situation that he has called for discussions about the possible evacuation of the area. 

However, Egat has made assurances that the ongoing landslides would not affect the lives of people or disrupt the electricity supply in the area. 

“Although there has been damage to some electricity poles, our management has allowed electricity services to go on as usual,” Egat deputy governor and spokesman Saharath Boonpotipukdee said yesterday, “There is no disruption to the Mae Moh power plant.” 

The mine provides lignite that powers energy generation at the plant.

Tambon Ban Dong Administrative Organisation chief executive Suk Thaitanasukkarn, who inspected the landslide site, said he still planned to discuss evacuation plans with relevant authorities because it appeared that the land was continuing to collapse at the site. 

“I will raise the issue with the relevant authorities for the safety of local people,” Suk said. 

Prachuap Donkhammoon, an assistant director at the Mae Moh mine, said landslides had begun about 9am on Saturday. “It happened in the waste dump zone, which is about 100 metres high,” he said.

He said conveyors affected by the landslides were new and not yet in use, while the whole area has been cordoned off for safety reasons.

Prachuap also said the landslides were continuing and affecting a stretch more than one kilometre along the Mae Moh-Tambon Ban Dong Road in Lamapang’s Mae Moh district. More than 50 electricity poles had fallen because of the landslides. 

Saharath said the landslide-hit road was closed, with officials on duty to prevent entry into the landslide zone. Local people have been advised to use another road as a detour.

He added that machinery had been sent to the area to fix the road damage. 

Saharath added that it remained unclear what had caused the landslide. “We are investigating the matter,” he said.