|Mining operations at Thach Khe iron mine site. Photo: Lao Dong newspaper)
According to Do Khoa Van, head of the provincial Department of Science and Technology, Ha Tinh embraces its stance on completely stopping operations in the mine, thought to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.
The central coastal province has often been critical of the project as it has consistently fell short of expectations in terms of socio-economic development. The locality has also blamed investors for its poor capacity, particularly regarding the capacity to transport ore and techniques used on the site which pose environmental threats.
The project has been running for 10 years but numerous safety hazards have been discovered at the site such as degraded mine edges and a lack of measures to prevent saltwater intrusion.
“Ha Tinh has scrutinised the proposal to close the Thach Khe iron mine after reviewing the overall efficiency of the project and consulting with many scientists and experts”, Van said.
He elaborated that the proposal has been made partly due to concerns about the adverse impacts the project could have on the environment. This came after an environmental incident occurred in the province’s Vung Ang economic zone in 2016.
The Thach Khe iron mine has been facing mixed feedback from various ministries and agencies. Previously, Vietnam Investment Review reported the Ministry of Planning and Investment had proposed the Prime Minister to halt operations at the mine.
Covering a large area across six coastal communes in Thach Ha district, the mine is estimated to have 544 million tonnes of iron ore reserves.