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Serious violations found in Lao Cai mining activities

Vietnam Net 29 January 2018

The Government Inspectorate has just published violations in the management of mineral extraction and processing in the northern province of Lao Cai.

The investigation which was carried out during the 2005-2015 period showed lax local management for a long time.

A Dantri/DTiNews source cited the Government Inspectorate's report as saying that eight mineral extraction projects in the province had encroached upon 135.8 hectares of forest and agriculture land while 11 other projects did not have a licence for mineral mining on a total area of 65.4 hectares.

The report also said that the Lao Cai Provincial Department of Planning and Investment had failed to accurately assess the investors' capacity which led to many projects operating inefficiently and having to be transferred to other investors while some being carried out at a slow pace.

Some of violating projects included the Minh Luong, Sa Phin and Tsuha gold mines, Ba Hon - Lang Lech iron mine, and Thuong Ha serpentine mine. The Thuong Ha serpentine mining project was transferred to another investor just 20 days after being licensed, the report said.

Lao Cai Province issued 17 licenses to mineral extraction projects which failed to meet state regulations during 2006-2015, the report found.

The Government Inspectorate stressed that the chairman and vice chairman of Lao Cai Province, directors of local departments of Planning and Investment, Natural Resources and Environment, Industry and Trade, Finance, Taxation and concerned agencies should be held responsible for the violations.

The inspection team also proposed to the prime minister to urgently ask authorities in the province to recheck and adjust the plan of 24 violating projects and collect nearly VND 83 billion (USD3.65 million) in fines for the state budget.

Lao Cai Province is rich in mineral resources, including gold, copper, steel, apatite and others with total budget collected from mineral resources ranks second in the country after Quang Ninh Province.

A report from the Lao Cai Provincial People's Committee said that the province earned VND3.03 trillion (USD132.21 million) from mineral extraction between 2006-2015.