What was believed to be an illegal limestone mining site near the famed Ha Long Bay in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh is in fact a construction site for national defense purposes, local authorities have confirmed.
Photos purportedly showing that limestone karsts near the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ha Long Bay were being mined circulated on social media last weekend, prompting Quang Ninh authorities to verify the allegation.
As seen in the photos, mined limestone rocks were being transported on a conveyor-belt system to several boats.
The activities were being carried out as part of a national defense project under the High Command of Naval Zone 1, Vu Van Hop, chief of the secretariat of the Quang Ninh administration, said at a press meeting on Tuesday.
According to Hop, the construction site is located within the buffer zone of Ha Long Bay. “The site is within the national defense boundary and approved by the Ministry of National Defense,” he told reporters on Monday.
Hop added that Quang Ninh leaders had visited the site and demanded that all construction and mining activities cease immediately, a request the naval brigade has followed.
On Monday, the provincial administration also issued a statement to admonish Brigade 170 for damaging the mineral resources of the area.
The province has also requested that the military unit enact measures to restore the environmental damage its project had caused.