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Mining industry wastes resources

Update: February, 25/2012 - 09:54


Coal exploitation at the Ha Rang Coal Mine in Quang Ninh Province. Wasteful mineral mining, outdated technologies and insufficient planning hamper the industry's development. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
HA NOI — As a country rich in mineral resources, which serves the building material industry, Viet Nam is in need of comprehensive changes to develop the industry sustainably.

Speaking at an international workshop on mineral mining and processing on Thursday in Ha Noi, deputy minister of construction Nguyen Tran Nam said that wasteful mineral mining, outdated technologies and insufficient planning hampered the industry's development.

Most enterprises did not pay sufficient attention to mining technologies and mainly exported raw materials that generated low value, he added.

It was reported that between 2005 and 2010, Viet Nam mined and processed over 3.2 billion tonnes of minerals to produce building materials. This left hundreds of limestone and granite mountains and over 10,000ha of land unusable.

Resources have also been exploited without approval or even illegally, resulting in a massive waste of resources.

Over 3,500 mining licences, usually granted by provincial People's Committees, were still valid across the country, said vice director of the Geography and Mineral Department under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (MONRE) Do Canh Duong.

Duong said the issuance of mining licences now revealed problems, urging adjustment.

Ministries of Construction, Industry and Trade, MONRE and localities needed to tighten inspection measures and assess planning for building material production in general and cement production in particular, he said.

Before allowing local authorities to grant licences, MONRE should identify the areas eligible for mining activities, Duong said.

President of the Viet Nam Association for Building Materials Tran Van Huynh said small-scale companies with poor management, using outdated technology were wasting resources, polluting the environment and not ensuring the safety of workers.

In the next 10 years, the country is expected to exploit nearly 10 billion tonnes of minerals to produce building materials such as cement, bricks, stone and sand.

To do so, he said, it was necessary to revamp management practises of mineral mining and production as well as improve technology to ensure efficient and environmentally-friendly mining.

Accordingly, the mining of mineral resources needed to be strictly managed under a planned scheme to grant licences, use minerals, protect the environment and further regulate mineral resource mining.

In addition, raising awareness among organisations and enterprises in the mineral mining and processing activities, especially those serving the building materials industry, should be central to any sector change. — VNS

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