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Tin mine probe launched

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Tin mine probe launched | Thaiger

PHUKET: With a looming water shortage on the island, government officials today began sorting out tin mine land claims. The government has been eyeing the island’s 115 old tin mines as a source of much-needed water, but some prominent Phuket families claim outright ownership of the mines, with some families holding Chanote titles dating back as long as 50 years. Kriang Kantinan, Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Administrative Affairs, with Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi, officers from the Phuket Provincial Land Office and Phuket Town Mayor Phummisak Hongsyok, inspected three tin mines today: the Chao Fah tin mine in Kathu, an old tin mine beside the Boat Lagoon and an old mine near Dulwich International College. K. Kriang said that the government had lost ownership of several tin mines many years ago. “The government gave concessions to people to operate tin mines on government land, and when the concessions expired the land was supposed to be handed back to the government. “But instead, after the concessions expired, some plots of land were issued Chanote titles,” K. Kriang explained. Mayor Phummisak Hongsyok said, “It’s right for the government to protect its property. But for Phuket it’s not easy because Phuket has had people living on it for 200 years. “Many people have lived in the [tin mine] areas for years, and their papers conferring rights of ownership have existed since that time. “For example, some Chanote title deeds have existed since 1954. This means that some people had property rights on the land even before the tin mine concessions were announced,” said the Mayor. Mayor Phummisak, whose family owns the Chao Fah tin mine, then showed his copy of the Chanote deed for it and explained, “My family bought this piece of land in 1923, when the land was an orchard. We got a Chanote in 1975 and operated the tin mine, which means the land is my family’s property.” K. Kriang said that the committee hoped to collect copies of all the land title documents on the old tin mines by the end of this month. Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi said that the plan is to carry out the inspection in two stages. “At the moment, we know there are 29 tin mines on which concessions have expired within the last 10 years. “We will check the land title status on these first, and confirm what areas are still government land and where private property rights have been issued. “Then, we will check the remaining tin mines, both government and privately owned, and try to find ways to cooperate and take advantage from them in terms of use as water sources.” He added that the committee would also be investigating the issue of titles on all land with private ownership claims. Phuket Town Municipality Office records show that the island’s tin mines contain volumes of water ranging from 300,000 cubic meters to 2 million cubic meters.

 

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