Last update: 15:00 | 09/09/2017
VietNamNet Bridge – At the peak of the ‘mining fever’, Quy Hop District in the central province Nghe An had hundreds of sites operational. Now, due to high production costs and consumption difficulties, many mining companies have shut down—leaving behind tremendous environmental damage.
White stone excavated from a mountain in Quy Hop District, the central province of Nghe An. The exploitation can lead to public disorder and environmental pollution. — VNA/VNS Photo
In Chau Quang, Chau Loc, Chau Thanh and Chau Hong communes, the mountains were ravaged by mining activities.
Vi Thi Hoa, a resident of Chau Quang Commune, said that even though the companies have long since stopped operating, she still feels anxious whenever she crosses through the abandoned mines, as “large rocks on the mountains look poised to fall down below anytime.”
In Tri Le Commune of Que Phong District, four companies were granted mining licences. At present, all four have closed down, leaving behind numerous underground tunnels, deep excavated holes, and towering piles of muddy soil.
“More worryingly, most of these mines are located at high altitudes. Failure to perform necessary land rehabilitation turns the old minefields into giant bubbles of water that may burst in heavy rain, washing away everything below,” Vi Van Nam, a resident of the Tri Le Commune told Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper.
Similarly, in Dien Chau District, six out of eight permitted mines have seen their licences expired already. When they closed their mines, the companies did nothing to restore the environment. Most notably, in Dien Doai Commune, numerous sinkholes left behind pose a grave danger to local residents and their cattle.
Other areas across Nghe An Province suffer from the same negligence of the mining companies.
According to the authorities, there are 140 mineral mines province-wide that have either shut down or allowed their licences to expire. Most have failed to perform the necessary rehabilitation work as required by law.
Nguyen Quoc Lam, head of the Que Phong District’s environment department, said that the scale of the damage these companies have done far surpassed the “little deposit” that the Government will use for environmental rehabilitation. Lam added that with its available budget, the district can only implement “immediate measures” at the “critically dangerous sites, with high risks of collapse and other direct threats to the local people.”
In Quy Hop District, the environment department said that the district and province authorities have met some of the violating companies, asking them to perform their duties. The department stated that any request to re-open the mines by these companies would be rejected.