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Company violates mining regulations in Điện Biên Province

Update: October, 11/2017 - 09:00
Stone mining on Tằng Quái Pass. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh
Viet Nam News

ĐIỆN BIÊN — Illegal road blocks, failure to follow safety mining procedures and disregard of public safety are among the violations of a mining company operating at Mường Áng District of the northern mountainous province of Điện Biên.

It all started with a well-intentioned policy aimed at making use of local resources and advantages in developing industry in tandem with processing and consumption as part of a programme launched in 2015 for the 2016-2020 period.

However, by the end of 2016, only two businesses in the province – private construction company Minh Quý and the Hà Giang Highlands JSC – were allowed by Hà Giang People’s Committee to conduct stone mining for construction material.

According to locals, the location of Hà Giang JSC’s stone quarry at the Tằng Quái Pass is not appropriate since the use of explosives during mining could result in landslides, threatening people’s lives.

In addition, the pass area contains a lot of ancient caves with tourism development potential for the district in particular and the province in general.

According to the report by Nhân Dân (The People) newspaper, residents’ concerns are justified as loud explosions, dust in the air and falling rocks have become familiar occurrences.

On Road 279 -- the main road of Điện Biên Province -- vehicles are forced to patiently wait for the lifting of road restrictions to be able go through the Tằng Quái Pass. The road restriction was arbitrarily imposed by the Hà Giang JSC, citing the need for the movement of heavy trucks carrying stones from the quarry to Điện Biên City. Worse, when it rains, traffic flow on this road becomes nearly impossible.

There are also no road signs or warning signs erected near the mining area.

Hà Giang Highlands JSC’s mining site is located directly above the National Road 279, threatening traffic and public safety. — Photo

Negative precedent

Faced with this situation, the Economics and Infrastructure Department of the Mường Ảng People’s Committee coordinated with the road administration to inspect and handle violations committed by the Hà Giang Highlands JSC.

However, the meeting wasn’t successful because the company’s representative, deputy director and quarry manager Đào Sơn Hải, failed to show up.

The inspection team then came directly to the company, made a record of the company’s violations and demanded the company comply with the administrative sanction decision issued earlier.

Previously, in August, during an unannounced inspection of the working group, Đào Sơn Hải admitted that the company had committed several transgressions, including illegal blocking of the national road to carry out mining and failure to set up warning signs and barriers to prevent falling rocks in the vicinity of the mining sites as per regulations. Other violations included an unannounced self-made road connected to national road 279, failure to follow original planning, and selling products that had not passed technical standards.

Mường Áng authorities have asked the company to immediately stop illegal land-filling and quickly carry out environment rehabilitation work before the end of September. However, at present, punitive measures have not been imposed.

Following inspection, violations committed by the company have been clarified, however, the question remains as to how to effectively deal with offenders and prevent setting a precedent for other businesses to flout the law by abusing local governments’ special treatment policy to attract investors. — VNS



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