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


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

Name of conflict:Titanium Mining in Thuan Nam district, Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam
State or province:Ninh Thuan province
Location of conflict:Thuan 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 :Mineral ore exploration
Water access rights and entitlements
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Titanium-Zircon Ore
Rare metals

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Quang 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:83.7
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:700 - 5000
Start of the conflict:08/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Quang Thuan One-Member Co Ltd. from Vietnam - mining
Relevant government actors:People's Committee of Ninh Thuan Province; the Phuoc Dinh commune’s government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Defend the Defenders; Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC)

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
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 of the project

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
Other Health impactsrespiratory inflammation, eye diseases due to pollution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There has been a temporary suspension

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Vietnam’s 2010 Mineral Law


Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] online (04/01/2014): "Vietnam titanium miner suspended for causing pollution" (accessed 22/06/2015)

[2] BLOG DanLamBao: "Protesters clash with police at massive protest in Ninh Thuan" (accessed 22/06/2015)

[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)

[4] Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience 2014. "VIETNAM: MEMBER OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL & HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION 2014" (accessed 22/06/2015)

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protesters and anti-riot police

Other documents

Protests, March 2014 Source:

Burned mining installations Source:

Meta information

Contributor:A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB)
Last update24/06/2015



Protests, March 2014


Burned mining installations