|The province's assurances came after thousands of cubic metres of red mud spilled from a reservoir built by the Binh Thuan Minerals Investment and Trade JSC in Ham Thuan Nam District last November.— Photo sgtt
BINH THUAN (VNS)— Central Binh Thuan Province's People's Committee last Sunday pledged stricter supervision of titanium mines and more frequent inspections of reservoirs built to store toxic mud that is generated in the extraction process.
At a meeting held in the province on the accident and follow up measures taken, the administration ordered concerned agencies to implement measures to better protect the local environment.
The province's assurances came after thousands of cubic metres of red mud spilled from a reservoir built by the Binh Thuan Minerals Investment and Trade JSC in Ham Thuan Nam District last November.
The spill damaged the local environment, clogged up nearby streets and residential areas, and caused traffic congestion for several days. The loss caused by the spill was estimated at more than VND5 billion (US$235,000).
The administration directed the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment to ensure that titanium exploitation companies are taking steps to restore environmental health in line with regulations, particularly by planting trees.
Department director Hoang Giac said at the meeting that their inspectors have regularly inspected the activities of the titanium mining businesses and found many violations.
He said some of them have continued to work even without renewing their exploitation license and many have failing to replant trees after the exploitation work as required.
Giac said the department would deal more strictly with violations in the future. Apart from administrative punishments, companies can also be banned from exploitation, he said.
The Binh Thuan Minerals Investment and Trade JSC was fined VND200 million ($9,600) for the red mud spill, it was announced at the meeting. There was no mention of how the estimated damage caused by the spill would be covered.
The meeting also heard that titanium mining along the Nhum River, where the red mud spill occurred, has been banned.
It also heard that an industrial complex specialising in titanium processing in line with European standards is being set up in Ham Tan District. This is one of the measures being taken to reduce environmental pollution, officials said.
Binh Thuan accounts for 92 per cent of the country's titanium reserves, estimated at 560 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Titanium is a metal used in many industries including the manufacturing of planes and equipment used in oil and gas exploitation. — VNS