Locals protest against titanium mining in Binh Dinh

Vietnamnet_Residents in two communes of the southern province of Binh Dinh have raised a heated protest against titanium mining activities, citing pollution concerns.

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Residents in My An and My Tho communes of Phu My District took to the streets to protest the polluting titanium mining company in Binh Dinh Province. — Photo tuoitre.vn

For many days now, people living in My An and My Tho communes of Phu My District have been preventing Hoang Dat Co from exploiting the titanium in the region fearing water pollution.

Dang Ngoc Thai, head of Xuan Phuong village of My An Commune, said previously, a vast casuarina forest covered the region.

“However, since 2006, when the company was allowed to exploit titanium in the region, they have chopped down hectares of the forest. The trucks carrying titanium ores are a constant source of pollution,” he said.

Thai also added that the wells in the village had run dry, forcing residents to spend a hefty sum of money to dig new wells.

In the neighbouring village of Xuan Binh (My An Communme), the foul smell and muddy water are also suspected to be caused by the company’s mining activities.

“Now, if the authorities once again let them resume their mining, then we will suffer further; the environment is heavily polluted already. We demanded a halt on all the titanium mining activities here,” a resident said, expressing his anger.

Nguyen Van Giao from My Tho Commune was worried that the depleted underground water resources would gradually kill the tracts of forest, which in turn would leave the residents vulnerable to natural hazards such as desertification or flooding.

According to Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper’s findings, from 2006 June to 2013 April, Binh Dinh Province People’s Committee decided to allow the Biotan mining company to exploit titanium on 18ha of land in My An Commune, a move protested by local residents.

In 2011 April, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development granted permission to Binh Dinh Mining and Trade JSC (Hoang Dat Mining JSC) to mine for titanium over a 180ha area for 14 years.

“However, over the past six years, the operations have not gone smoothly due to serious criticisms from residents,” Ho Manh Cuong, deputy head of Phu My Commune environment authorities, said.

Ho Ngoc Chanh, chief of staff and speaker of Phu My District People’s Committee, said the district has reported to the province’s authorities regarding the protests and attempts by the locals to prevent the company’s mining activities.

Previously, Chanh said the province’s authorities ordered the Hoang Dat JSC to temporarily stop their mining and cooperate with local authorities to organise talks with the residents.

Do Ngoc Dung, a representative for the Hoang Dat JSC, said the company had done all the required procedures to get permissions for mining in My An Commune, including the land rent payment.

“The province’s decision to halt mining activities is not due to the company’s fault, but due to the residents’ protests. The prolonged project has caused significant losses for us; we hope that the authorities will soon find a measure to address the situation,” Dung said.

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