$42M road unable to pass through titanium mine, construction stopped

By Viet Quoc   June 14, 2023 | 06:43 pm PT
$42M road unable to pass through titanium mine, construction stopped
Aerial view of the 719B coastal road project in Binh Thuan Province in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Quoc
Work on a VND1 trillion (US$42.5 million) coastal road in the central Binh Thuan Province has ground to a halt after coming up against a titanium mine.

Construction of the 25-km Road 719B between Phan Thiet and Ke Ga stopped in early June, with few vehicles and workers now seen at the site.

It is in stark contrast to March when work was going on in full swing.

People had hoped the road would be completed to connect the Vinh Hao-Phan Thiet-Dau Giay expressway with Binh Thuan, attracting tourists to the coastal province and generally bolstering economic development.

It was expected to be completed this month until construction had to stop due to land acquisition issues in Ham Thuan Nam District, where the Tan Quang Cuong titanium mine is situated, Nguyen Van Vien, head of the construction project, said.

The mine was approved in 2015 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment before the road construction began.

The road was to cut through a 30-ha section of the 515-ha mine, but acquiring and clearing the portion has been delayed.

Vien said the road is over 60% complete, but despite all efforts to resolve the problem, the land clearance process has remained slow, and is waiting on authorities to resolve things.

Nguyen Huu Trung, director of the Binh Thuan management board for investment and construction of traffic structures, the main investor in the road, said the board is coordinating with the environment department and the Tan Quang Cuong company to resolve the issue.

Since the mine is still in use, handing part of its land involves multiple time-consuming steps, he added.

A collapse at the mine in October last year, which resulted in four deaths, has also disrupted the process since the place had to remain untouched to enable an investigation.

The environment department has called on the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment to consider reducing land clearance procedures so that the road could be completed.

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