VietNamNet Bridge – The central province’s environmental department has ordered three titanium exploitation companies to suspend operations, which have continued for the last three years despite expired licences.
|Illegal sand mining taking place near the Phu Ngoc Bridge lying between Nhon Khanh and Nhon Phuc districts of An Nhon Township, Binh Dinh Province. — Photo thanhnien.vn|
The three companies – My Tai Co Ltd, Tan Phat Co Ltd and Ban Mai Production & Commerce Co Ltd – were only granted permission by the province’s People’s Committee to carry out mining activities until the end of 2013, according to Huynh Quang Vinh, deputy head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE).
Once this period was over, the local authorities asked the three companies to complete environment restoration at the exploited area by the end of August 2015. However, the three companies defied the order and continued to hire workers and deploy heavy machines to extract titanium at the site in Phu My District, prompting anger of the locals.
Binh Dinh People’s Committee has told Phu My District to coordinate with the provincial DoNRE to work on administrative fines applicable for the offences according to existing law and seize all machines and other assets for further investigation.
In a related development, locals of Van Thai Village in My Tai Commune of Phu My District have submitted a denunciation letter against Hoang Khiem Co Ltd, saying the company has illegally exploited sand in the riverbed of the La Tinh River from 2016 to now, without licences. The overexploitation of sand has led to heavy erosion on the riverbank, adversely affecting lives and production.
Phu My authorities said the province is still processing Hoang Khiem company’s documents asking permission to carry out mineral prospecting, specifically sand used in construction, on a 2.4ha area. However, the company has gone on with exploitation operations without obtaining any licence.
On April 15, chairman of Bìinh Dinh Province’s People’s Committee Ho Quoc Dung asked the provincial police, especially environment police forces, to conduct inspection of mineral exploitation sites and handle violations. Initially, the focus would be on “hot spots” like in Phu My and Phu Cat districts, he said.