Mining activities in Lao Cai
Deputy Inspector-General Nguyen Van Thanh has announced the results of the inspections over law enforcement in mineral exploitation, management and procession in Lao Cai from 2005 to 2015.
According to the inspectors, Lao Cai People's Committee didn't issue environmental protection regulations on time and several regulations about resource taxes weren't accurate. The provincial chairman, directors of the Department of Finance and the Department of Taxation during 2008-2012 period must take responsibility.
Suspicious activities in mine planning have been detected. 13 projects were listed with a total area were 197 hectares larger than what had been planned, encroaching upon agricultural and forest land. 11 other projects weren't included in the planning covered 65.40 hectares and violated the Law on Construction.
Another 31 projects didn't have any listed size or boundary. Many mining projects were allowed to operate for eight years while the time limit is three years.
According to the plan, the Minh Luong gold mining project was supposed to cover 21.18 hectares but the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment agreed to give a 112-hectares to the investor.
Lao Cai Department of Construction gave 3.77 hectares which were not in the plan to hotel projects. The provincial authorities violated the Law on Minerals when allowing investors of hotel projects to collect apatite.
The inspectors concluded that reports on investor experience and financial capacity weren't accurate, leading to stagnant and ineffective projects. Several investors illegally transferred their mining rights.
Vietnam Apatite Company has been in operation for years yet the authorities still haven't put up boundary markers as regulated. Its licence has also expired.
Lao Cai People's Committee also didn't issue required regulations on how to calculate environment tax from 2008 to 2011.
"After inspecting six investors, many violations have been detected which caused over VND95.20 billion in losses to the state," the inspectorate wrote in the report.
The inspectorate proposed measures to recover the money and determine the individual responsibilities of the leaders of the local Department of Natural Resources and Environment during the 2009-2012 period.
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh asked the provincial authorities, Government Inspectorate and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to collaborate to review the licenses granted to Minh Luong mining project.