Asia Cement denies Hualien mine expansion

Asia Cement denies Hualien mine expansion
13 June 2017

Asia Cement Corp has denied that it has been expanding mining operations in Hualien County, Taiwan,  following accusations by a filmmaker that mining has intensified at the site, the Tapei Times reports.

Documentary filmmaker Chi Po-lin made the comments in May 2017 whilst filming a sequel to his aerial photographic documentary ‘Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above. Chi subsequently died in a helicopter crash last Saturday but his aerial footage of the Sincheng site has resulted in widespread criticism of the Asia Cement's mining activities at the township which includes a 25ha quarry in Taroko National Park.

Asia Cement says it has slowly been reforesting the active mining site since 2012. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has also released time-lapse photography supporting the cement producer.

The quarry, which is partly located in a national park, supplies one of the country’s largest cement plants. Its mining lease was set to expire in 2017 but was extended until 2037. The Environmental Protection Administration has also issued assurances that quarry excavations will not occur within the national park area.

“We have been conducting a large-scale afforestation project in the region for several years and the efforts have begun to bear fruit,” the company said in a statement.

Asia Cement has been mining in eastern Taiwan for 60 years. Its mine once extended 25ha into Taroko National Park, but it said it reduced its mining area in the park at the end of last year.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs in March approved an extension of Asia Cement’s mining rights in Sincheng Township by 20 years, allowing it to bypass an environmental impact assessment.

“The ministry has completed the draft amendment to the Mining Act and would require outdated projects to pass environmental impact assessments in the future,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs, Shen Jong-chin, said yesterday.

The ministry is to discuss related details with the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Mr Shen said.

The Department of Mines cautioned in a statement that the nation’s cement supply chains might be affected if Asia Cement halts production at its Hualien plant. The Hualien plant contributes nearly 29 per cent of Taiwan’s total cement production, it said.

Published under Cement News