BINH DUONG (VNS) — The southern province of Binh Duong's decision to close down 142 Hoffmann brick kilns by the end of this month has received objections from their owners, who say it would leave thousands of workers unemployed.
The provincial People's Committee plans to close the kilns due to pollution.
The Hoffmann kiln was developed by German inventor Friedrich Hoffmann in 1858, but they were only set up in the province in 2010 after a pilot model was successfully applied by a local company.
At the time, deputy director of the Binh Duong Department of Industry and Trade Tran Van Rang said the Hoffmann kilns were suitable for local small and medium size enterprises because tunnel kilns needed large investment.
The smoke discharged from the kilns could be dealt with later, he said.
Since then, a number of companies have invested VND8-10 billion (US$380,000-476,000) to set up Hoffmann brick kilns.
The decision to shut down the kilns has left owners in the province puzzled and worried as many of them have not recovered enough capital.
Bui Thi Ngoc Anh, owner of the Truong Trung brick kiln in Vinh Hoa Commune, Phu Giao District, told the Lao dong (Labour) newspaper that hundreds of kiln owners would suffer losses reaching into trillions of dong.
"Investing in a single tunnel kiln would cost VND20-30 billion ($952,000-1.4 million), and we cannot afford that," she said.
Tran Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the Binh Duong People's Committee, said the province had more than 140 brick kilns being with more than 4,600 workers.
Most of the kilns were constructed without permission, and did not follow environmental regulations.
The kilns must be closed by the end of this month, he said.
Liem said the province was following Government regulations, and that kiln owners had been given plenty of time to make back their investment.
In another development, the Ninh Hoa Town People's Committee in the central province of Khanh Hoa has also decided to close traditional brick kilns in the town by the end of this month due to pollution.
The town has nearly 70 brick kilns with about 1,200 workers. The kilns produced about 100-120 million bricks per year. — VNS