Amid a growing backlash against Asia Cement Corp’s (亞泥) business interests in Taiwan, the company yesterday took out front-page advertisements in several Chinese-language newspapers to announce that it would reduce its mining operations in Hualien County by 40 percent.
The company said it would restrict its mining operations in Sincheng Township (新城) to about 250 hectares, 150 hectares less than the 400 hectares that the government has approved.
It said it would also agree to conduct an environmental impact assessment on its mining operations if necessary, once a proposed revision of the Mining Act (礦業法) passes the legislature.
Photo: Lee Ching-hui, Taipei Times
The announcement came after Premier Lin Chuan (林全) on Wednesday said that the government would, in a week, review the renewal of the firm’s mining rights.
There has been widespread criticism of the company’s mining activities at the Sincheng site in the wake of the death of award-winning documentary filmmaker Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) on Saturday last week in a helicopter crash.
Chi’s aerial footage of the Sincheng site had caused public outcry.
An online petition against the extension of the company’s mining rights has collected more than 200,000 signatures, according to the Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan.
Asia Cement, a unit of Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), has had mining operations in eastern Taiwan for 60 years.
The Sincheng site, which includes a 25 hectare quarry in Taroko National Park, constitutes one of the nation’s largest cement suppliers.
“Far Eastern would not withdraw investments from Taiwan [despite the event],” group chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) told reporters yesterday at an annual general meeting of Far Eastern International Bank (遠東銀行) in Taipei.
The bank is also a subsidiary of the group.
The nation’s economic situation is “acceptable,” he said, adding that the group would continue all the ongoing investment projects in the domestic market.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs in March approved an extension to the Asia Cement’s mining rights in the Sincheng operations for 20 more years without requiring the site to undergo an environmental impact assessment.
The revision of the Mining Act to require an environmental impact review for any request for additional mining is expected to be submitted to the Legislative Yuan after the next session starts in September.
An ongoing review of 42 mining projects is to be suspended until an amendment to the act is finished, according to the Cabinet
Shares of Asia Cement have fallen 4.72 percent from a week earlier, and fell 0.19 percent to close yesterday at NT$26.25 in Taipei trading.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly