A company has been exploiting a large amount of sand without a legitimate permit, against the backdrop of the increasingly concerning threat of sand mining across Vietnam.
Residents of Huong An Commune, Que Son District, Quang Nam Province have been complaining about hundreds of cubic meters of sand being mined on a daily basis and sold to other regions in Vietnam.
The mining is carried out by Trung Dung Mineral Exploiting Company without any formal permission from local authorities.
According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, the sand is dug up and stored in separate piles in an area of about 20 hectares.
A brief investigation by the journalists showed that Huynh Khanh Toan, vice-chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, issued a document on March 17, allowing Trung Dung Company to exploit the material while preparing paperwork to ask for a permit.
The mining was part of the area clearance for a project to build a textile complex in Que Son District, implemented by the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
The mined sand would only be supplied to the Chu Lai Float Glass Factory in Quang Nam, Toan stated in the document, adding that the firm had to complete necessary paperwork for its permit before April 30.
Instead of finalizing the permit procedure, Trung Dung took advantage of the decision to mine and sell the sand to other localities.
On April 13, the deputy chairman signed another document following a request from the firm, allowing it to continue the sand mining till June 15.
Thus Trung Dung has pushed forward its sand exploitation and sold the material to neighboring Da Nang City.
According to Nguyen Bi, head of the Office of Natural Resources and Environment in Que Son District, the company has dug up some 32,000 cubic meters of sand.
The decision made by Vice-chairman Toan was to facilitate the implementation of the textile complex project, Bi said.
Bui Van Ba, an official from the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, confirmed the authenticity of the documents signed by the vice-chairman.
“Although this does not comply with the law, it is suitable for the practical situation, enabling the project to be executed as per the original schedule,” Ba elaborated.
Regarding the possibility that Trung Dung would be deemed unqualified for the sand mining after their paperwork has been processed, the official asserted that has never happened before.
“The amount of exploited sand is not too large, and Toan’s is just a one-off decision,” he reassured.
Meanwhile, Vice-chairman Toan affirmed that the sand exploitation has been ceased, adding that competent agencies are probing the case.
He said the documents only showed in-principle agreement so Trung Dung was supposed to ask for a permit from authorities.
“The firm was wrong to mine and sell the sand to other localities without our consent. We will decide on a suitable penalty based on the results of the investigation,” Toan stated.