Trillion dong plant closes down after one year of operation

Chu Lai Soda Plant, built at VND2.3 trillion (US$101.3 million), has completely shut down after nearly one year coming into operation in Chu Lai open economic zone, the central province of Quang Nam, leaving hundreds of workers jobless and unpaid.

Chu Lai soda plant (Photo: SGGP)

Chu Lai soda plant (Photo: SGGP)

The plant started construction on April 30, 2010 over 20 hectares in Tam Hiep industrial park, Nui Thanh district with the design capacity of 200,000 tons a year, expected to come into operation after two years. However it just started functioning five years later in June 2015. Right after operating, the plant faced severe opposition from local residents for polluting the environment, killing their farmed shrimp and fish.
Local authorities many times inspected the plant and asked it to temporarily close down. By the end of 2015, Vietnam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issued a penalty of VND730 million ($32,000) on substandard wastewater treatment system of the factory.
Afterwards the plant resumed operation and continued causing environmental pollution so deputy chairman of Quang Nam province People’s Committee Nguyen Khanh Toan made a decision to halt operation since August 2016, leaving hundreds of workers jobless with 3-8 month unpaid wage a person.
Deputy chairman of Tam Hiep commune People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Anh said that the plant used outdated Chinese technology resulting in noise pollution and improperly treated wastewater.
Five banks providing the project’s investor a total loan of VND2 trillion ($88.09 million) comprising four Agribank branches in Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Tuyen Quang provinces and Pvcom bank.
After the plant shut down, these banks have hired security guards to defend the area.
Mr. Ha Thach, director of Agribank Quang Nam branch, said that the bank together with the investor was making efforts to solve the issues and reopen the plant. Nevertheless he concerned that VND2 trillion loan might become bad debts.
A leader of Chu Lai open economic zone said that so far the plant has not solved environmental pollution and completely shut dow . It has been unable to operate because of financial difficulties and technical problems caused by outdated Chinese technology.
Mr. Nguyen Hong Quang, Quang Nam People’s Committee Office chief, said that the province has not received any specific report about the cause of the plant’s shutdown.

By NGUYEN KHOI- Translated by Hai Mien

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