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Investors await formal procedures to invest in waste treatment on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc

Investors await formal procedures to invest in waste treatment on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc

Monday, October 30, 2023, 11:00 GMT+7
Investors await formal procedures to invest in waste treatment on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc
Garbage piles up at the temporary Dong Cay Sao dumping site in Cua Duong Commune, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

Several enterprises have encountered procedural hurdles after conveying their interest in investing in waste management solutions in Phu Quoc Island City off Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam, where the daily waste accumulation is on the rise.

The city is grappling with the waste generation of around 170-180 metric tons a day.

In May, Hanoi-based Licogi 13 Technology and Specialized Materials Joint Stock Company (Licogi 13-TSM) secured the bid to manage the interim landfill located in Bai Bon Hamlet, Ham Ninh Commune, Phu Quoc City.

The waste management agreement spans a 22-month duration and entails a total cost of VND55 billion (US$2.2 million). 

Authorities in Phu Quoc City have installed medium voltage power lines, facilitating the commencement of Licogi 13-TSM’s construction on the waste treatment facility, which is projected to undergo testing and become operational by the end of this year.

Currently, a number of other investors have submitted proposals to the Kien Giang administration, expressing their interest in investing in waste management solutions on Phu Quoc. 

These investors bring various technologies to the table, such as a Ho Chi Minh City-based company looking to invest in waste treatment through thermal vaporization technology and a north-central Thanh Hoa Province-based company eager to implement a waste drying process using biological products and waste recycling.

However, these proposals have faced delays to the formal procedures for waste treatment investments in Phu Quoc. 

Nguyen Thanh Tung, head of the Phu Quoc Economic Zone management board, explained that the selection of waste treatment investors for Phu Quoc has a 50-year timeline and requires approvals from the provincial Department of Planning and Investment and the provincial People’s Committee.

“This process requires time and adherence to the appropriate procedures,” said Tung. 

“Local authorities are making proactive efforts to expedite the arrival of investors for waste management, ensuring a cleaner environment for Phu Quoc."

Volunteers collect litter on a beach in Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

Volunteers collect litter on a beach in Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

Failed investments

In 2017, Toan Cau Renewable Energy Joint Stock Company, referred to as Toan Cau Company, embarked on an investment venture to construct a waste-to-energy plant in Bai Bon Hamlet, capable of processing 200 metric tons of waste daily. 

However, during the testing phase, this project, which carried a price tag of approximately VND230 billion ($9.3 million), faced significant issues, leading to the rapid accumulation of waste in the Bai Bon disposal area, transforming it into a sizable garbage dump.

At the same time, garbage in Phu Quoc City had been gathered at the temporary Dong Cay Sao landfill in Cua Duong Commune since 2019, giving rise to another substantial dumping ground.

In 2021, state-owned lender VietinBank’s Phu Quoc branch, the creditor of Toan Cau Company, initiated a lawsuit against the firm to recover a principal debt exceeding VND85 billion ($3.4 million) and nearly VND20 billion ($813,670) in interest. 

The company had used industrial equipment and technology employed in the waste-to-energy conversion, as well as property rights linked to the waste power plant project in Bai Bon Hamlet as collateral for those amounts.

In 2022, VietinBank’s Phu Quoc branch auctioned Toan Cau Company’s debt, which amounted to more than VND122 billion ($4.9 million) at that time, including both the principal and interest.

In response to the challenging situation faced by Toan Cau Company, the People’s Committee of Kien Giang Province revoked the project. 

Subsequently, they entrusted Minh Thuan Thanh Construction Investment Co. Ltd. to continuing the waste treatment project in Bai Bon Hamlet.

However, during the trial run processing around 100 metric tons of waste from July to September 2022, the plant kept grappling with environmental issues, emitting unpleasant odors that affected the lives of nearby residents.

On March 22, Kien Giang officially terminated the trial operation of this waste plant. 

In May, Lam Minh Thanh, chairman of the Kien Giang People’s Committee, ordered relevant departments to call for new investments in waste treatment plant construction in Bai Bon Hamlet.

Subsequently, Licogi 13-TSM won this bidding.

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Bao Anh - Son Lam - Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre News

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