Sewage sludge from mining titan floods homes in Binh Thuan

By Tu Huynh, Pham Huong   June 18, 2016 | 08:18 pm GMT+7

An artificial lake which was created to contain sewage sludge from titan mines unexpectedly broke and flooded houses and a resort in the southern province of Binh Thuan on June 16.

The 3,000 cubic meter lake of Tan Quang Cuong Limited Company in Ham Thuan Nam District of Binh Thuan broke in the early morning of June 16, encroaching an area of 19,600 meters squared, including houses, a resort and isolating more than 200 meters of roads in the area.

The following day, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha issued a decision to suspend the company pending investigation. 

"If serious violation is uncovered, investigators may recommend the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to revoke the mining permit," says the ministry's decision. 

Tran Thi Nam, owner of a resort said: “When I woke up, I saw sewage flooding everywhere.” She added that there were no casualties in the family but almost all furniture items were washed away. Her fish pond and orchid garden worth hundreds of billions of dong were buried under the mud.

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Sewage sludge covers local roads. Photo by VnExpress/Tu Huynh

Nguyen Van Duc, another local said that his 8,000 square meter garden was inundated.

“If the flood had taken place at the time people were working, then many could have drowned,” said Duc.

Initial investigation by local authorities shows that the company regularly pumped water to the lake without conducting due checks. As the lake is surrounded by sand, over time, water infiltrated through the sand, creating underground streams that eventually broke the lake. 

After the incident, Binh Thuan People's Committee asked the company to stop mining titan, clean up the site and compensate local people.

The mining license of Tan Quang Cuong Limited Company was granted in April last year by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. However, to date the company has yet to fulfill all required procedures to exploit titan.

The Southern Department of Mineral Activity Control is scheduled to submit the final investigation report by June 20.