Ha Tinh residents impatient as ministries remain indecisive about iron ore mine
VietNamNet Bridge - Concern about environmental risks has prompted Ha Tinh provincial authorities’ proposal to stop exploitation at Thach Khe iron ore mine.


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Ministries remain indecisive about Thach Khe mine



In a dispatch to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) recently, the Ha Tinh People’s Committee emphasized that ‘now is the time to make a clear final decision about the fate of the project’.

Long debates occurred after Vinacoal, the largest mining corporation in Vietnam, proposed resuming exploitation at Thach Khe after 10 years of interruption as per the Prime Minister’s request.

Ha Tinh authorities want to stop the mining to avoid unwanted risks during the life of the project.

Long debates occurred after Vinacoal, the largest mining corporation in Vietnam, proposed resuming exploitation at Thach Khe after 10 years of interruption as per the Prime Minister’s request.

MPI also proposed stopping the exploitation at Thach Khe and the 2 million ton ingot steel manufacturing project in the locality.

Vinacomin and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) do not advocate the view.

The ministry warned that if the project implementation discontinues, the VND2 trillion injected into the project so far will be in vain. And most of the capital is the state’s.

Meanwhile, experts all applauded the Ha Tinh provincial authorities’ decision to say ‘no’ to the project, agreeing that the mining would bring environmental risks.

According to Nguyen Xuan Khien, former head of the Geology Science & Minerals Institute, Thach Khe is the largest mine in Vietnam, but it is difficult to exploit because of the great depth, 550 meters below sea water level. 

Moreover, Khien believes it is necessary to reconsider the project in terms of economic benefits. The mine is rich in iron ore, but the zinc content in the ore is high (0.07 percent), or 10 times higher than commercial ore. It would be very costly to sort the ore.

Formosa Ha Tinh, a steel manufacturer, has refused to buy ore from Thach Khe, saying that with the current technology it utilizes, the iron ore from Thach Khe cannot be used.

“Thach Khe is at great depth, located near the sea, and there is much water. It is very difficult to exploit ore there,” he said.

“However, MOIT and Vinacomin believe that modern technology will solve the problems and Vietnam can exploit the ore to serve the country’s metallurgy industry,” he said.

However, the investor cannot explain how the environmental problems would be settled if the mining re-starts.

Analysts also think that the mining would do more harm than good because it would damage the existing infrastructure system in Ha Tinh, while people’s lives would be upset and the environment would be compromised.


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Thach Khe project: too many risks to environment

Thach Khe iron mine: ministry urges go ahead, local authorities demur


Kim Chi

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