Leaders from the Ha Tinh People’s Committee and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have begun an investigation into reports of an explosion at the Formosa steel plant in the north-central province’s Ky Anh district on May 30.
Mr. Le Hong Tinh, Deputy Chairman of the Committee of Science, Technology and Environment at the National Assembly, told that the explosion occurred while Formosa’s No.1 blast furnace was being trialed.
“After the scandal last year relating to its environmental pollution, the government has conducted close supervision at the Formosa plant,” he said. “But due to being trialed, the incident with the blast furnace couldn’t be avoided.”
The explosion is believed to have occurred in lime kiln D3 at around 9pm on May 30.
The toxic leak from the plant last year caused one of the worst environmental disasters in Vietnam, stretching along more than 200 km of coastline in four central provinces. Formosa had to pay $500 million in compensation to affected people and for the recovery of marine areas.
The Formosa steel project is the largest foreign direct investment project in the country and is expected to be the largest integrated steel mill in Southeast Asia, data shows.
FHS, under Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, has been the investor in the Son Duong Iron Steel and Port Complex at the Vung Ang Industrial Zone, where the steel plant is located, since 2008, with total investment of around $10 billion on an area of more than 3,300 ha.
Project capacity is 7 million tons per year in the first phase, completed in 2015, to be raised to 22 million tons by 2020 with capital of $26 billion. The project was licensed in 2008 with three sub-projects: the Formosa Iron and Steel Making Plant, the Son Duong Deep-Water Port, and the Formosa Thermal Power Plant.