Ministry insists iron mine should not be reopened

2024.03.26 22:16:32

Ministry insists iron mine should not be reopened

Workers control vehicles to exploit iron ore at the Thạch Khê Mine in the central province of Hà Tĩnh. Experts have warned about the mine’s operation due to its affect to the environment. — Photo

HÀ TĨNH – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has raised concerns over the controversial Thạch Khê Iron Ore Mine in central Hà Tĩnh Province, saying the mine should not restart operations due to environmental risks.

Hoàng Văn Thức, deputy head of the ministry’s Việt Nam Environment Administration said the ministry shared the concerns of the provincial authority. Last month, Hà Tĩnh Province proposed shutting down the mine to protect the environment instead of temporarily halting operations.

The ministry has sent a proposal to the Government to stop the mine, he said.

The Thạch Khê Iron Ore Mine, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, covers a large area in six coastal co妹妹unes in Thạch Hà District. It has an estimated volume of  五 四 四 million tonnes of iron ore reserves. 

The mine is invested by Thạch Khê Iron Joint Stock Company. The project was approved for the first time in  二00 七 with capital of more than VNĐ 九. 九 trillion (US$ 四 三 七 million). By  二0 一 三, the project was adjusted with capital of over VNĐ 一 四. 五 trillion ($ 六 三 九 million).

Ministry insists iron mine should not be reopened

Operation of the mine was suspended in  二0 一 一 to deal with problems during the implementation process, including restructuring the enterprise and investment capital, completing the design and solving site clearance.

In the period between  二00 八 and  二0 一 一, the investor exploited  三,000 tonnes of ore at a depth of  三 四m.

Thức said the ministry had approved the environmental impact assessment of the project in  二00 八 and the adjusted version when the project resumed operations in  二0 一 三 after a period of suspension.

By the end of  二0 一 七, the ministry co-operated with relevant ministries and sectors to re-examine the risks of environmental pollution as per the Government’s requirement.

After revising the overall documents, the ministry found that the design of the project was only eligible to reach a maximum depth of  一 四 五m underground instead of  五 五0m as designed.

As a result, the ministry suggested the mine halt operations due to safety concerns, he said.

Thức also said that the project should be replaced in case it was evaluated to be ineffective and have a negative impact on the environment.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to collect opinions from relevant ministries and Hà Tĩnh Province and report to the Government’s Party Co妹妹ittee for solutions.

Ministry insists iron mine should not be reopened

In December, authorities in Hà Tĩnh Province proposed shutting down the iron ore mine. This was the fourth time the authority has raised concerns over the project.

Ministry insists iron mine should not be reopened

Đỗ Khoa Văn, director of the provincial Department of Science and Technology said the possibility of environmental catastrophes such as polluted sea water and earthquakes caused by the ore mine was quite high.

After the completion of mining, the mine pit would be renovated into a large reservoir with a capacity of up to hundreds of millions of cubic metres. This would put pressure on the shore and mine pit, triggering earthquakes in this area.

In addition, untreated waste water, which was discharged directly into Thạch Hải Beach, would cause environmental issues.

The project has not yet evaluated the impact on degrading fresh water sources in the aquaculture and fishing areas in Thiên Cầm, Thạch Bằng and Thạch Hà and landslides in neighbouring districts, he said.

In September  二0 一 八, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said it shared the same viewpoint, saying the mine should be closed. – VNS