Formosa Plastics Group has decided to postpone the launch of its steel mill in Vietnam with no new opening schedule, Taipei Times reported Thursday.
The newspaper quoted Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp’s Vice President Chang Fu-ning as saying that the No. 1 furnace of the steel complex, which is located in the Vung Ang Economic Zone in the central province of Ha Tinh, would not become operational on June 25 as scheduled.
According to Taiwanese media, the delay was because Vietnamese authorities have demanded that Formosa pay US$70 million in unpaid taxes.
In addition, the delay reportedly was because Vietnamese authorities needed more time to process an application filed by Formosa to begin production.
Chang said his company has communicated with Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance over the alleged failure to pay taxes.
Construction of the US$10 billion Formosa Ha Tinh steel complex started in December 2013. It has a projected annual capacity of 7.5 million tons targeted for domestic consumption and export to other Asian nations.
The project includes a port and a power plant that are set to be completed by the end of 2020.
The Taiwanese company has been in hot water after hundreds of tons of fish were washed ashore in April in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, apparently killed by industrial effluents.
Formosa Ha Tinh admitted it has a large sewage pipe going straight into the sea but claimed all its discharged wastewater had been treated.
On June 2 Vietnamese authorities said they would reveal the cause of the mass fish deaths this month.
It is not clear if the fish kill scandal is connected to the steel mill’s delay in any way.