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|Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has asked the People’s Committee in southern Binh Thuan Province to closely supervise titanium mining activities, which were supposed to have been halted years ago due to the serious impact on the environment.– Photo plo.vn|
The order was made after local press reported on rampant titanium mining activities in the province, causing losses of natural minerals, polluting underground water sources and negatively affecting the lives of local people.
According to the provincial People’s Committee, all titanium mining activities had been stopped several years ago.
The committee would be in charge of clarifying the information reported by the press and report the results of the inspection to the Government by July 15.
Reports from the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment showed that mining activities could cause serious environmental pollution.
Ho Lam, director of the department, said that mining occurred predominantly along the coast and near residential areas. Thus, the safety of local people was not ensured.
Lam said there had been environmental incidents due to mining activities in the past. Underground water supplies were sufficient for just agricultural production and daily use. When titanium was mined, local people faced water shortages, resulting in serious criticism of the mining activities.
Binh Thuan Province currently has the highest reserves in the country at an estimated 600 million tonnes, accounting for 92 per cent of total national reserves.
By 2020, the province planned to implement mining activities on an area of 19,500 hectares at an estimated 133 million tonnes.
In addition, titanium was mainly exported to the Chinese market, and as a raw material. There were no large-scale processing plants with high technology in the province. Thus, the profit was not proportional compared to the risks of environmental pollution it could bring.
A plan for titanium mining was needed in the province, he said.
Last August, local residents in Bắc Bình District complained about the mining, which contaminated water sources and polluted the air with thick layers of dust discharged from mines.
Last October, the provincial committee asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to stop licensing titanium mining for enterprises until the Government issued a plan for titanium mining in 2018.
It had also asked the relevant authorities to re-examine the total volume of reserves, exploitation capacity of licensed mines, and the status of investment of large-scale processing plants in the province.
In particular, the province proposed the ministry to thoroughly inspect the annual titanium projects license to promptly handle violations and prevent environmental incidents.