Locals live next to SE Asia’s largest iron mine
VietNamNet Bridge – Thousands of households in the Thach Khe iron mining area in Thach Ha district of Ha Tinh province have endured tough lives for the last 10 years. They have no land for cultivation and no jobs, while water sources have become polluted. Most of them have incurred big debt.
Phan Trong Dao, 62, in Long Tien hamlet, said many years ago when the iron mining project kicked off, he was promised VND100 million to leave.
Dao then decided to borrow money to buy land in another area for resettlement. In 2010, he bought 500 coffee plants, a rice field and a small house in Eakar district of Dak Lak province, worth VND200 million.
However, in early 2011, he heard that the mining project was suspended. The financial support of VND100 million did not come as promised. Since Dao could not arrange money, he had to pay back the house and the field to the seller.
|Thousands of households in the Thach Khe iron mining area in Thach Ha district of Ha Tinh province have endured tough lives for the last 10 years. They have no land for cultivation and no jobs, while water sources have become polluted. Most of them have incurred big debt.|
“The investor told me to remove the graves of my relatives in Dong Xiem area to Con Hat Chung cemetery and promised to compensate for the removal. I borrowed money and built a new grave at a cost of VND70 million. But I have not received any dong so far,” he complained.
Phan Xuan Huong in Long Tien hamlet is also facing the same problem. “When they persuaded people to leave for site clearance, they promised to compensate us. Therefore, I borrowed money to buy a land plot in Dak Lak for resettlement. But the money has not been disbursed. I now owe money right and left,’ he complained.
According to Duong Dinh Tien, chair of Thach Khe commune, about 900 households in the commune have been affected by the project, and 850 out of 1,047 hectares have been cleared for the project’s site.
“Many families have bought land in other localities, but they have to stay here to receive the financial support promised,” he said.
“Some families have paid a deposit for land, but they cannot arrange enough money to pay to the landlords because they still have no money from the project’s investor,” he explained.
To serve the Thach Khe iron mining project, the Ha Tinh provincial authorities decided to relocate 4,000 households to resettlement areas. However, as the mining project has been suspended for six years, the resettlment areas have become fallow.
The residents in the resettlement area in Thach Dinh commune complained that they don’t have clean water for daily use and don’t have land for agriculture.
Nguyen Dinh An, a local man, said the resettlement area has become a cattle gazing area and dumping ground.
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