Illustrative image (Source: Internet)
Lao Cai (VNA) - The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai will focus investment on mineral processing in line with its socio-economic development master plan through 2020 with a vision to 2030.

Home to rich reserves of 35 kinds of minerals, Lao Cai became a centre for metallurgy and chemical industry in the region and the nation in 2010-2015, particularly the processing of apatite, iron, copper and phosphorous.

Many projects in the locality have been operating efficiently, contributing to the province’s industrial production value and budget. They also create jobs and stable incomes for thousands of locals.

The Lao Cai Copper Refining Plant in the Tang Loong Industrial Park (IP) is an example of the firms that brought economic benefits to the province and the nation in general.

Constructed in 2005, the plant is the first of its kind in Vietnam. It uses modern and environmentally friendly technologies with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes of refined copper a year, meeting one third of copper demand in the country.

The Apatite Vietnam Company is also a successful example in Lao Cai with three plants for sifting ore, producing golden phosphorus and fertiliser.

However, the expansion of mineral processing is also putting strain on the environment and daily life of local people.

In 2015 alone, eight enterprises in Tang Loong IP were fined for violating environmental rules.

The issue was also a hot topic in many meetings between National Assembly deputies and local voters as well as in a large number of complaints lodged by local residents.

At a recent meeting with enterprises operating in the locality, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Dang Xuan Phong stressed the need to pay special attention to protecting the environment.

The provincial authorities have required enterprises to upgrade their waste water, solid waste and exhaust gas treatment in line with the regulations.

Local businesses have been encouraged to use advanced environment treatment technologies and equipment to replace backward ones, especially those in treating dust, exhaust gas and waste water. They were also asked to build automated environment observation systems, which can directly transmit data to relevant agencies for supervision.

The provincial authorities are investing in infrastructure facilities in the Tang Loong IP and a number of concentrated facilities for solid, water and harmful waste.-VNA