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Việt Nam’s biggest polymetallic project fined for violations

Update: July, 19/2017 - 11:19
The Núi Pháo Mine Exploitation and Process Company Ltd, the project investor, will have to pay a fine of VNĐ510 million (US$22,000) for its violations. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Núi Pháo mining project, Việt Nam’s biggest polymetallic operation, has seriously violated regulations on environmental protection, mining, and use of land and water resources, according to the results of an inspection conducted last year by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).

The Núi Pháo Mine Exploitation and Process Company Ltd, the project investor, will have to pay a fine of VNĐ510 million (US$22,000) for its violations.

The MNRE conducted a 45-day inspection of the Núi Pháo mine, a large polymetallic project located in the northern mountainous province of Thái Nguyên, after receiving complaints from local residents about the project’s environmental impact.

Under the investment license granted by Thái Nguyên Province, the Núi Pháo project was permitted to exploit and process tungsten, fluorspar, bismuth and copper for 30 years, starting from 2004.

In terms of land use, the company was found to have taken lands not planned for the project. The company had not processed land leasing procedures with State agencies and did not use the land according to the registered purpose. Compensation and resettlement assistance to local residents dislocated by the project has been slow against the approved schedule.

After 13 years of operation, the Núi Pháo Company had still not completed ground clearance and the move of households in areas of high risk of environmental impact.

Toxic solvents

The company violated mining exploitation regulations and had not drawn up plans for restoring the mined land as required in the mining licence. The inspection activity also found many violations on collecting and processing industrial waste in reservoirs inside the project’s land.

The company did not install automatic monitoring systems of waste water and air emissions as per regulations. During the mine exploitation and process, the factory emitted toxic solvents to environment.

In terms of water resource use, the company dug 120m deep for underground water without permission.

The MoNRE has ordered Núi Pháo Company to stop its violations and to control air, smell and chemical pollution affecting nearby residential areas.

To solve the negative pollution impact, the company will also have to take environmental protection measures and submit them to the MNRE for approval.

The company is also required to present a road map for reducing its factory operation capacity and ensuring adherence to waste processing and environment protection demands.

During operation, the company must totally control toxic substances such as arsenic, cyanide, and beryllium (alkaline earth metal). Especially, the company needed to comprehensively study and evaluate beryllium’s impact on the environment and health of people working in the factory and living nearby.  — VNS

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