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Ministry gives nod to export hazardous steel waste

Update: December, 22/2016 - 14:00
Packages of steel furnace dust stockpile at a steel factory in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu. — Photo dantri.com.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Industry and Trade has agreed in principle to allow Kim Phúc Hà One Member Liability Limited Company to export 300,000 tonnes of steel furnace dust to China.

In a document issued on Wednesday, Đỗ Thắng Hải, deputy minister of industry and trade, said steel furnace dust is a hazardous waste that harms the environment but that the country’s waste recycling and treating technology is limited. So enterprises seeking to export it should be encouraged.

To ensure that the transport and export of the waste complies with regulations and international practices, the ministry has asked the firm to get in touch with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Việt Nam Environment Administration for guidance on related procedures.

On December 9, Kim Phúc Hà company from the northern province of Lạng Sơn had sought approval from the ministry to export furnace dust, a waste discharged by the steel-making process.

Currently, the dust is only collected, packed and stored in storage locations that don’t really meet the regulations and requirements related to hazardous waste management, even as the amount of waste being generated is increasing by the day.

The company has conducted market research and signed an export contract with a Chinese firm in Fangchenggang city, which has licence in China and experience processing furnace dust.

Nguyễn Văn Sưa, vice-chairman of Việt Nam Steel Association, explained the dangers of steel furnace dust to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper. It contains several hazardous metal elements such as zinc as materials used to make steel include iron, scrap steel and zinc-coating corrugated iron.

Sưa said the Chinese firm wants to buy furnace dust so it can extract zinc, which accounts for 19-20 per cent of the waste. This is much higher than the amount that can be obtained from zinc ore.

At present, no companies in Việt Nam are capable of treating it, though some firms in the northern region have registered to treat steel furnace dust. They have so far failed to meet all the requirements for permission to treat the waste.

Kim Phúc Hà company is the first business to seek approval to export steel furnace dust, Sưa said. — VNS

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