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Ministry plans to shore up reservoirs

Update: October, 13/2014 - 09:22

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will strengthen inspections of dams towards strengthening the safety of their reservoirs, a senior official has said.

It will also remind local authorities about measures to achieve this and punish firms that violate safety rules, said Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the ministry's General Department of Geology and Minerals.

He told Vnexpress that after the red sludge spill from a bauxite mining plant in Lam Dong Province, his department has assigned the South Minerals Management Department to visit the site, carry out inspections and propose solutions.

The department has also asked local authorities to carry out measures that will help address problems caused by the spill, although the sludge was said to be non-toxic, and stablilise the lives of local residents.

Referring to responsibility for the spill, Thuan said it was hard to say that the incident occurred because of loose management because pro-longed heavy downpour and slow water drainage from the reservoir also contributed to the breach. He noted that many developed countries have also faced similar problems caused by natural disasters.

Thuan said the department is considering inspecting all enterprises operated in mineral exploitation to curb unexpected accidents.

So far, the department has inspected nearly 300 enterprises in 14 cities and provinces nationwide, he added.

Lam Dong Province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment has reported that about 5,000 cubic metres of red sludge spilled into the Cai Bang Lake. The substance has not damaged people and crops, the report claims.

This is the second sludge spill this year. On September 30, the reservoir of an iron mining operation in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai broke, pouring a huge amount of sludge downstream. It damaged resident's property, but no casualties were reported. — VNS

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