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Titanium Mining in Thuan Nam district, Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam


Description

In August 2012, the provincial People’s Committee of Ninh Thuan province approved a titanium mining permit for the Quang Thuan company, covering 83.7ha in Son Hai 1 and Son Hai 2 hamlets of Thuan Nam district. Since then, the mining activities have caused significant environmental pollution and have led to serious health problems, such as respiratory inflammations and eye diseases, provoked by dust and sand pollution. Further impacts include drastic reduction of groundwater sources and drying up of wells due to the company’s tapping of water sources for ore processing. The growing lack of water has negatively affected the daily life of villagers as well as agricultural production in the region [1].

In the context of these negative environmental and health impacts, the titanium mining operations have provoked large opposition and uprising of locals [1;2]. Following many complaints, and in response to the company’s lack of a license to use groundwater sources for ore processing, a temporary suspension was ordered in 2012. The provincial government demanded from the company a new Environmental Impact Assessment as well as the establishment of clean water facilities for the local populations. In early 2013, the company was allowed to continue mining activities on a small area of 19.32ha, given they would control environmental pollution [1].

When the company was going to fully resume its activities on March 19, 2014, however, in absence of the required clean water facilities, it was reported that around 700 villagers gathered in front of the Phuoc Dinh commune’s governmental building to voice their concerns and opposition [3;4]. Some of the protester were alleged of mobilizing the gathered villagers to set fire to the company factory and equipment [1;4]. Following these events, the provincial government decided to suspend again the company’s activities, while investigating the circumstances of the factory burning. Consequently, six activists were arrested and charged [1;4]. According to online blogs, this provoked that during the following week, thousands of people marched in Thuan Nam district to protest, demanding the release of the 6 arrested people [2; see also 4]. The protesters clashed against the anti-riot police, producing violent fights and injuries on both sides [2].

Basic Data

NameTitanium Mining in Thuan Nam district, Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam
CountryVietnam
ProvinceNinh Thuan province
SiteThuan Nam district
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesWater
Titanium-Zircon Ore
Rare metals

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsQuang Thuan company was granted an 83.7ha mining permit to explore, mine and process titanium-zircon ore in the Thuan Nam district [1].

No information on banks involved could be found. No production data was found.
Project Area (in hectares)83.7
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population700 - 5000
Start Date08/2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesQuang Thuan One-Member Co Ltd. from Vietnam - mining
Relevant government actorsPeople's Committee of Ninh Thuan Province; the Phuoc Dinh commune’s government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersDefend the Defenders; Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC)

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Otherrespiratory inflammation, eye diseases due to pollution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Repression
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.There has been a temporary suspension

Sources and Materials

Legislations

Vietnam’s 2010 Mineral Law
http://www.camcf.org:11002/upload/EditorUploads/2010%20Mineral%20Law.pdf

LAW ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION No. 55/2014/QH13
http://www.itpc.gov.vn/investors/how_to_invest/law/Law_on_environmental_protection_2014_1/mldocument_view/?set_language=en

Links

[1] tuoitrenews.vn online (04/01/2014): "Vietnam titanium miner suspended for causing pollution" (accessed 22/06/2015)
http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/18727/vietnam-titanium-miner-suspended-for-pollution-problems

[2] BLOG DanLamBao: "Protesters clash with police at massive protest in Ninh Thuan" (accessed 22/06/2015)
http://danlambaovn.blogspot.fr/2014/03/protesters-clash-with-police-at-massive.html

[3] Defend the Defenders online (27/03/2014): "Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC) condemns detention of two innocent residents in Thuan Nam district, Ninh Thuan province" (accessed 22/06/2015)
http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/2014/03/27/former-vietnamese-prisoners-conscience-fvpoc-condemns-detention-two-innocent-residents-thuan-nam-district-ninh-thuan-province/

[4] Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience 2014. "VIETNAM: MEMBER OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL & HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION 2014" (accessed 22/06/2015)
http://fvpoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/HR-violation-ENG.pdf

Media Links

Protesters and anti-riot police
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lANOwgiW8U

Other Documents

Protests, March 2014 Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.fr/2014/03/protesters-clash-with-police-at-massive.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a__bt1.png

Burned mining installations Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/18727/vietnam-titanium-miner-suspended-for-pollution-problems
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/c__CDOoE6Iz.jpg

Meta Information

ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB)
Last update24/06/2015

Images

 

Protests, March 2014

Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.fr/2014/03/protesters-clash-with-police-at-massive.html

Burned mining installations

Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/18727/vietnam-titanium-miner-suspended-for-pollution-problems