|Illegal mining is killing the environment around Hòn Rồng Mountain. — Photo baokhanhhoa.vn|
KHÁNH HOÀ — A mountain located between Cam Lâm District and Cam Ranh City in the coastal central province of Khánh Hoà is slowly being destroyed by illegal soil mining.
On one side of Hòn Rồng Mountain, the Tân Cảng Construction Co is exploiting rocks and soil for military constructions. In Cam Lâm District, other enterprises are using the excuse of upgrade work to National Highway 1 to continue their exploitation.
All their mining licences expired in 2016.
Võ Tấn Thái, director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, told Vietnam News Agency that Tân Cảng Company was given permission to conduct a geographical survey of the area in 2013 to search for soil and rock that could be used for construction materials.
After conducting the survey, the company ignored licensing procedures and went ahead to start mining anyway. In January 2016 and September 2018, the department asked it to end all exploitation activities, but mining continues.
In a letter sent to the department in September, Tân Cảng said that the expense for acquiring a exploitation permit was beyond their means, and were waiting for instructions from their parent company.
Regarding the project to upgrade National Highway 1 from 2014 to 2015, Khánh Hoà Province People’s Committee said it had allowed soil and rocks to be mined for the project. In 2016, when the project was completed and went into operation, local authorities withdrew all licences and tasked companies with restoring the environment.
Following an inspection conducted in July 2018, the department asked the People’s Committee to urge companies conducting exploitation activities around Hòn Rồng Mountain to accelerate environmental recovery and complete their financial responsibilities by October 31.
Although several mechanisms have been issued to tighten mineral exploitation activities in Khánh Hoà Province, they are strong enough to efficiently address illegal activities in the area. — VNS