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16 heavy industry projects to receive approval (Nation)

The Industrial Works Department plans to approve operating licences for 16 investment projects with a combined value of Bt60 billion within one week, after clarifying some previously uncertain environmental issues. Article 67 of the Constitution stipulates all plants with potentially serious environmental impacts on nearby communities must pass a health-impact assessment (HIA).However, the Industry Ministry’s review of the listing of such industries has resulted in long delays in the granting of licences to pending heavy-industry projects.”So far, our legal team, which has just finished the legal interpretation, believes we can approve the licences for those 16 projects, which are mostly petrochemical and power plants, because the HIA is included in their environmental-impact assessment,” Industrial Works Department director-general Witoon Simachokedee said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Industry Ministry will propose an action plan complying with Article 67 at the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) meeting this month.Permanent secretary Damri Sukhotanang said the ministry had completed the listing of 19 industrial activities that made a serious impact on the community. These include nuclear power plants, large coal power plants and mining.He said the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry was now considering the list before submitting it to the PPP meeting in the middle of the month.”We’ll try to announce the list of the serious-impact industries as soon as possible, because we realise it will be a way to restore investor confidence,” he said.In addition, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is drafting a new law to set up an independent organisation as a mechanism to consider heavy-impact industries.Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand governor Monta Pranootnorapal yesterday said there were three heavy-industry projects awaiting its approval: a Bt1.8-billion project by Siam Tinplate, a Bt1.3-billion project by PTT Aromatics and Refining and a Bt270-million petrochemical project by the Aditya Birla Group.

Joe Miller
the authorJoe Miller
I have been living in Thailand for over 20 years and witnessed the many changes the country has undergone since the Asian Financial Crisis. I have spent time in Phuket, Samui, Hua Hin, and Chiang Mai, but I gravitate back to Bangkok when all is said and done. It is here that I spent years running a software development company and teaching at universities. These days I live on the Internet with Bangkok as my base. I never stopped believing in the enormous potential of Thailand's kingdom, which is why I joined the ThaiVest Team.