Locals slam dolomite mine plan
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Locals slam dolomite mine plan

Locals near Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi are protesting the opening of a private dolomite mine on a 540-rai plot of land located just a kilometre from the national park due to concern about how it will impact their way of life and the park's environment.

Somchet Chantana, director of the Phetchaburi Office of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) recently visited the land in dispute, along with World Heritage Committee officials and park rangers.

Mr Somchet said there are three concerns about the mine. The first is that the World Heritage Committee may disapprove of it as it will be located in a buffer zone of the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site, stretching into the forest areas of three national parks and one wildlife sanctuary in Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The next concern is about the noise and air pollution the mine will cause while the last relates to the mine's effects on tourism in the national park and surrounding areas.

Dolomite is used as a source of magnesia, a feed additive for livestock, a sintering agent in metal processing, and as an ingredient in the production of glass, bricks and ceramics.

Villagers in Phetchaburi's Kaeng Krachan district submitted a complaint to the authorities on Monday saying a private company came to inspect the location where it will run its dolomite mine, with the site located just about a kilometre away from the national park.

The company submitted a request to the authorities to operate the mine in Moo 4 and Moo 8 villages in tambon Song Pee Nong in Kaeng Krachan district. According to the map the company handed out to locals, it will be located on a 540-rai plot of land that is home to a bamboo forest and big trees.

A map created by Phetchaburi's DNP office shows the disputed land is located in a buffer zone, which is 1.14 kilometres away from the boundary of Kaeng Krachan National Park.

Atita Klinsuwan, an official at an Industry Ministry office in Phetchaburi province, said the company's request is under consideration, adding the locals will ultimately decide whether to allow the mine to open or not.

A proposal to run a dolomite mine at the same location was submitted by a different company in 2008. The proposal was opposed by the locals and the mine was never opened.

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