Thu, May 11, 2017 - Page 11 News List

MOEA to put forth mining rule changes next month

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said it plans to propose revisions to the Mining Act (礦業法) next month, so they are unlikely to be reviewed in the legislature this session.

“We understand that the public wants the ministry to revise the act as soon as possible, but the ministry has its administrative procedures to go through before sending a draft to the Cabinet,” Bureau of Mines Secretary-General Hsu Ming-hung (徐銘宏) told reporters on the sidelines of a protest by environmentalists in front of the ministry in Taipei.

Environmentalist groups, including the Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan and the Taiwan Society of Wilderness, yesterday urged the ministry to revise the act to forbid cement makers from extending their mining rights without undergoing environmental assessments.

The ministry on March 14 approved an extension to Asia Cement Corp’s (亞泥) mining rights in eastern Taiwan by 20 years.

On March 20, the legislature’s Economics Committee demanded that the ministry not approve any mining rights extensions before an amendment to the act is made.

The regulations allow cement makers to extend their mining rights without environmental assessments, and environmentalists claim that the ministry intentionally protected Asia Cement’s interests by abiding by the law instead of waiting for a revision of the act.

The ministry said it is reviewing its approval procedure and doing a safety assessment on Asia Cement’s projects in accordance with a request from the Economics Committee.

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