Bauxite production set to begin next April

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Vinacomin, a state-owned mining group, has announced that its bauxite mining and processing complex in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong will begin commercial production this spring.

Starting in April, the plant will refine bauxite ore into alumina to be sold to aluminum producers.

The group said the construction of the alumina refinery has followed its projected schedule. The whole complex will launch its first test run in March.

Nguyen Thanh Liem, Chief of Vinacomin's Aluminum and Titanium Department, said on Friday that the plant's storage systems for red mud, a byproduct of bauxite refinement, are safe.

But after the recent Hungarian sludge spill, the group decided to strengthen the red mud storage with a new dam downstream. The mud will not spill out even in the event of an accident, he said.

"I can assure that our red mud lake is safe," said Vinacomin's Deputy General Director Duong Van Hoa. "We are aware that this is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with carefully."

Vietnam is developing another bauxite mining and processing complex in Dak Nong Province.

A group of scientists and intellectuals have signed a petition asking the government to halt the projects to conduct further research and gather public opinion on the matter.

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chairman of the Government Office, said on October 23 that the government will continue to gather opinions before making its final decision.

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