KON TUM — The People’s Committee of the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum has decided to withdrawn the investment certificate of Đắk Brot Hydropower Plant and stop construction in response to long delays.
The investment certificate withdrawal is expected to be completed today. Earlier, Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper reported that the construction site of the project in Đắk Glei District has been turned into a gold mining field, polluting the surrounding environment and angering local residents.
Đắk Brot Hydropower Plant was given a construction permit six years ago, and the project was expected to cost over VNĐ56.7 billion (US$2.5 million), but no progress has been made since then.
The plant would reportedly cover over eight hectares of land, including protected forest and farming land owned by locals. The hydropower plant, which was originally slated for completion in 2012, would have a capacity of two megawatts.
Local residents who witnessed the project’s prolonged delay said that big machines and a lot of workers were dispatched there, but they were mining gold rather than building the plant.
Đắk Brot stream used to be clean, but the water has become tainted and seriously polluted since the gold mining started, they said.
A Phương, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Đắk Glei District, told Tuổi Trẻ newspaper that the investor, Phúc Kim Tâm Company, signed a contract with an individual named Thân Văn Tám, a local of Đắk Glei District, to mine gold in the area without any permission from local authorities.
The district People’s Committee has conducted inspections, but the violations still continue, he said.
In an interview with the newspaper, Bùi Thị Kim Tâm, director of Phúc Kim Tâm Company, denied the company’s involvement in any gold exploitation. She said the company was levelling land to create suitable farming space for locals.
“We hired a unit to level the land surface, but it exploits the mine on its own free will,” she said.
Notably, this is not a rare case in Đắk Glei District. A district official said there are currently six or seven hydropower plant projects in the region, but none have produced electricity yet. The reasons for the delays vary from dam breaks to a lack of capital. — VNS