Man killed in residue tank at Vietnam bauxite refinery

By Lam Vien, Thanh Nien News

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Settling tanks of red mud at Tan Rai bauxite refinery in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, where a man was killed on May 28. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
A worker died, Thursday, in a tank of red mud residue – a kind of waste produced while refining bauxite into alumina – at Tan Rai plant in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
Le Tri Duc, 34, was in the process of clearing the residue tank with a high-pressure hose on Wednesday when a chunk of mud fell apart and hit him.
He was employed at the Hanoi-based Thai Nam Company, which was contracted to provide cleaning and waste disposal services at the plant.
The tank’s measured roughly 20 meters in diameter and stood 28 meters tall.
Duc was standing at the bottom of the tank to hose down the tank's inner wall when the accident happened.
Nguyen Thanh Truc, 28, who was then hanging on the wall, jumped to the bottom in an effort to save his colleague.
Duc died ten minutes after rescuers got him out of the tank, while Truc survived with injuries.
Nguyen Van Trieu, chairman of Bao Lam District’s People’s Committee, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday that Duc died from a collision with a chunk of hardened red mud, not the mud’s chemical effects.

Since Vietnam announced plan to build a series of bauxite refineries many years ago, many experts and the public have worried about the threats they pose to the environment.
Opened last October, Tan Rai is Vietnam’s first bauxite refinery. It was designed to produce 650,000 tons of alumina – the main ingredient for aluminum production – a year.
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