VietNamNet Bridge – Illegal titanium mining has resurfaced in Duy Hai Commune, in Duy Xuyen District of the central province of Quang Nam, resulting in coastal landslides and deforestation of protected forestland.
Commune People’s Committee chairman Vo Van Toan said the illegal titanium mining had mushroomed a few months ago in the coastal areas of Trung Phuong Hamlet of Cua Dai – Doi Mom but had eased after regular inspections and punitive sanction were introduced.
However, hundreds of titanium miners have rushed to the area, destroying protected forests in search of the mineral which is then sold to local traders.
A kilo of titanium ore sells for VND600 but traders can sell titanium to companies for VND1,400 per kilo.
Mining company suffers suspension
Authorities have instructed Binh Thuan Mineral and Trade Investment Company to suspend its titanium mining operations in Phan Thiet City’s Tien Thanh Commune and Ham Thuan Nam District’s Thuan Quy Commune, according to the provincial People’s Committee on Wednesday.
The company was found to be mining below the regulated limit of 5.54 metres, exploiting resources at a depth of 15-30 metres. In addition, the company illegally mined titanium on a 4-ha area outside the area approved for exploitation.
Other violations regarding environmental protection were also revealed.
Titanium, a precious and rare metal, is used in a wide range of industries including aircraft manufacturing, defence, shipbuilding, food processing and healthcare.
Commune official Toan said illegal titanium miners usually worked at night and fled when authorities tracked them down.
It was also difficult for authorities to conduct regular inspections due to staff shortages, he said.
Head of commune police Do Thanh Tien said local police had found a truck transporting titanium last Sunday and in October had seized two trucks carrying about 5 tonnes of titanium ore.
The maximum fine for titanium violations was VND2 million (US$95), which he said was not high enough to deter violators, he said.
Local resident Nguyen Thi Nam, whose house is near the affected coastal area, said the titanium miners usually worked from 8pm to 3am, and said voices, and vehicle engines woke up local residents every night.
“The mining causes landslides and threatens people’s safety, so we use a bamboo barrier to stop miners and their vehicles,” Nam said, adding it was rarely an effective deterrent.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News